Local school officials are moving forward with plans to offer free meals for students during the fall semester.


Free meals are being offered by local schools after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday that a free meal service program is being extended until as late as Dec. 31.


The USDA-supported program is normally used to provide children free meals during the summer. But local schools were allowed to use the program this past spring to provide meals to students who were receiving remote instruction after schools were ordered closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Officials with the Lansing and Basehor-Linwood school districts have announced that the free meal service will be offered during the fall semester to children who are enrolled in those school systems.


The meals will be available for students who attend in-person classes at school buildings as well as students who are receiving remote instruction.


Superintendent Dan Wessel said Lansing students will be able to receive single meals at no cost. But students will be charged for any additional food items they may want.


Parents of Lansing students who are signed up for remote instruction can pick up meals for their children at Lansing Elementary School on days when the school is open for in-person classes.


On Fridays, all students in the Lansing district will be receiving their instruction remotely. And on these days, parents can preorder meals that will be delivered to bus stop locations for pick-up.


In the Basehor-Linwood school district, each school building will serve as a pick-up location for meals for off-site students, according to information sent to parents Thursday.


Classes for the 2020-2021 will begin next week in the Lansing and Basehor-Linwood districts.


Classes already have started in the Leavenworth public schools.


Cynthia Schrader, director of Child Nutrition for the Leavenworth public schools, said her district also will take advantage of the free meal program. But she is still working on the details.


"I have started the process," she said.


She said the free meal program may be launched in the Leavenworth district on Sept. 14.


Schrader said the program initially will be offered only to students of the school district. But the service may be expanded to make meals available for other children as resources allow.


Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR