FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Details about the “school meal” and “snacks”
- How is the school meal planned?
Much goes into planning your child’s school meal.
a. As part of the National School Lunch (and Breakfast) Program, school menus must meet the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) menu pattern and nutritional requirements.
b. Other influences include: The district’s documented Wellness Policy; Availability of USDA donated foods; Ethnic holidays and celebrations; Chartwells marketing and nutrition-based requirements and school-specific requests.
c. The foodservice budget, which includes the cost of products and services; product availability, seasonal considerations, cost of the school meal.
d. Facility design, including equipment and storage availability; Food safety requirements (federal, state, and local) and staffing.
- What constitutes a “breakfast” and “lunch” meal?
The meal pattern established by the USDA is similar to the food groups from mypyramid. A lunch meal must consist of at least “5 components”: meat or meat alternate, fruit, vegetable, bread and grains, and fluid milk. A breakfast meal must consist of at least “4 components”: meat or meat alternate and/or bread and grain, fruit or vegetable, and fluid milk.
“Offer Versus Serve” is an option established in 1975 mandating that students in high school would not be required to accept offered food that do not intend to consume. (This policy is optional at the lower grade levels.) For lunch, the student may decline “2 components.” For breakfast, the student may decline “1 component.”
- Is milk the only beverage allowed with the meal?
Yes. In accordance to the nutritional guidelines we must follow, milk must be included as part of the meal. The USDA option referred to as Offer versus Serve allows the student to decline any two food items available as part of the meal.
Students who are lactose intolerant or have sensitivity to dairy products may have a physician-approved substitute, provided written (medical) documentation has been submitted.
- Aren’t junk foods, such as soda and candy, available to the students during the school day?
Foods designated by the USDA as foods of minimal nutritional value (FMNV) cannot be sold or given away as free promotional items during the meal period in areas where the school meals are served and eaten. FMNV fall into the following general categories: soda, water ice and popsicles, chewing gum, hard candy, jellies and gums, marshmallows, fondant, licorice, spun candy, and candy coated popcorn. (Certain states have legislated specific nutritional guidelines, which are more restrictive. At this time, Massachusetts guidelines are being developed based upon the most recent legislation.) These restrictions do not apply to any other areas on the school campus where food is sold.
5. Are other foods sold during the school meal?
The USDA defines foods “sold in competition with the school meal program” as competitive foods. These foods might be sold as ala Carte menu items and snack foods and beverages. Examples of ala Carte and snack foods eligible for sale as competitive foods include, but are not limited to: sandwiches and other entrees, breakfast bars, cookies, desserts, chips and pretzels, fruit bars, bottled water, bottled juice and bottled milk. The option to have these items available to students is decided upon by the Randolph Public Schools district’s Wellness Policy.
- How do you handle students with food allergies or other dietary problems?
Parents with children with either a food-related disability or one that is not labeled as a disability should provide written documentation to the school nurse. Pertinent information will then be forwarded to the foodservice department. This will contain a physician’s signed statement, including: an explanation of the disability, food allergy and/or food intolerance; the food or foods to be avoided, and the food or choice of foods that must be substituted.
From this point, the parent and child should review the monthly menu and discuss possible meal selections. Contact the Director of Dining at 781-961-6236 to discuss if any of the selections would be prohibited. Reasonable accommodations will be made so that your child receives a nutritious complete meal.
Purchasing a School Meal
- Who determines the price of the school meal?
The price of the school meal is determined by the Randolph Public School Administration, not the food service management company, Chartwells.
- What is the cost of the student meal?
Elementary Lunch: $2.00
Middle/High School Lunch: $2.00
Reduced Students Eat Breakfast for Free Too!
- Why is an adult meal charged at a higher price than the student meal?
Under the federal guidelines, breakfast and lunches served to adults must be priced so that the adult payment is sufficient to cover the overall cost of the meal without the subsidy. (Federal assistance is available as part of the program for children, not for adults.).
- How does a student pay for his/her meal?
Parents of elementary students are encouraged to pre-pay online using Nutrikids by visiting mynutrikids.com. Otherwise cash is still accepted in each cafeteria.
- What happens if a student forgets his/her meal money?
Under no circumstances will a child be forced to go hungry for the day. A cheese sandwich complete with fruit, vegetable and milk choice will be made available for any student who does not have lunch to eat. There is no “meal charging” in any of the Randolph Public Schools.
- How is money collected?
Cash is collected at the register and prepayments are acceptable online via mynutrikids.com. At the elementary schools, monies collected from students should be in envelopes with the student’s first and last name, ID number, and dollar amount. This will ensure that the funds are properly deposited. We highly recommend that deposits be made prior to lunchtime. Money that is collected during the lunch period delays serving our students.
- Can one use another student’s account?
As a rule, students will not be allowed to use another student’s account unless there is consent by the parent. Students are highly encouraged to use their own PIN numbers which validates their account and makes the process of going through the line much faster.