Free meals given to San Diego Unified families as kids start new year online

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SAN DIEGO — San Diego Unified School District started the new school year online Monday as parents got word that free meals would be offered to kids through the end of the year.

The plan for the state’s second-largest school district consists of a six-hour school day with customized learning experiences for K-12. The school day includes up to three hours of online instruction, at least two hours of independent learning and one hour of working with other students or office hours with teachers.

Students can expect daily interaction with their teachers through video conferencing. They’ll also be graded on their work, a decision districts nationwide have expressed mixed feeling about as they have shifted to mostly distance learning.

“I have a lot of kids, so I had to go to the store and buy headphones for them so they wouldn’t be distracted by other teachers,” parent Anna Garcia said. 

FOX 5 talked with Garcia and other parents at Miller Elementary School in Terrasanta Monday. They were picking up free grab and go meals for their kids.

The school district set up the meal distribution program as an effort to take some of the burden off parents’ shoulders. More than 100 meals were given out within the first 30 minutes.

“I think every kid needs a good meal on the first day of school to get their brains going,” Garcia said.

The USDA announced Monday it would extend its free school lunch program for rest of year.

San Diego Unified leaders said families can drive through or walk up to any of 82 meal pick-up locations throughout the district for breakfast and lunch for their children.

Meals are available Monday through Friday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and there is no cost or paperwork. Parents or guardians should bring a photo of their child if they are not present when picking up the meals.

Board President John Lee Evans says he hopes the federal government will extend the free meal program through the entire school year.

San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten joined FOX 5 to discuss what students and parents can expect during the new school year. Watch the interview:

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