SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — After two years of pandemic school meal waivers are coming to an end. Now, Springfield Public Schools (SPS) is encouraging every parent to fill out a free and reduced-price meal application.

“We are going back to normal with school lunches,” SPS Director of Student Nutrition Kim Keller. “So if they’re a full-price student, they would pay for a full price meal and there wouldn’t be any more free meals unless they were free students that would fill out a free and reduced application.”

Free and reduced-price meals are based on income. Keller said the district has already sent out applications for direct certified families. These are families usually have SNAP benefits and automatically qualify for free or reduced-priced meals. The district is now mailing out applications to all other families.

“One thing to keep in mind is all the students go on one application,” Keller said. “[Families] don’t have to fill out an application for every student. It’s usually a 24 to 48-hour turnaround for those families to see if they qualify.”

SPS said the online applications will be available later this week. Parents can apply online through SPS’ website.

“They can fill out that application any time during the school year if their situation changes,” Keller said. “Lots of times that may happen where they might need those benefits at the beginning of the year, but they see that they have that need later on in the school year.”

Students who received free or reduced benefits last year will have a 30-day rollover from last year to this year. SPS said those families would need to apply again in October.

At SPS’ Back to School Bash on Saturday, parents can get help applying from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Springfield Expo Center. Parents can also call 417-523-1130 for application questions.