IRMA LATEST: Florida students will get free meals for weeks

Hurricane Irma damage in Saint Martin, Photo Date: 9/7/17
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MIAMI (AP) -- At least 48 county school districts in Florida will be serving free breakfast and lunch to all students through Oct. 20 as classes resume after Hurricane Irma.

More counties may be added to that list in the coming days.

In a statement Monday, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam said the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a plan to make meals available to the students in those 48 counties through the National School Lunch Program.

The counties include the hardest-hit by Irma: Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe and Collier.

State officials say as many as 3,000 schools and 2.5 million students may benefit from the plan.

MIAMI (AP) -- Miami-area students have returned to school amid ongoing Hurricane Irma cleanups.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho tweeted late Sunday that power and air conditioning had been restored to all schools. One middle school remained closed Monday for cleaning.

Early Monday, Carvalho tweeted that welcoming students back to class was "a step toward normalcy."

Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie told the Sun Sentinel that all students will be offered free breakfast and lunch for several weeks.

In the Florida Keys, Monroe County Schools Superintendent Mark Porter aims to have students back in class on Sept. 25.

Students in southwestern Florida also will miss another week of school. Collier County school district officials told the Naples Daily News on Friday that staff and school buildings were still struggling with power outages, sewage backups and repairs.

MIAMI (AP) -- Miami-Dade and Broward counties will reopen schools the first time since before Hurricane Irma threatened to hit South Florida.

The schools in both counties are scheduled to open Monday.

The Miami Herald reports one school in Miami-Dade County still doesn't have power. Air conditioning may work on one part of campus, but not another. Power might blip on and off through the day. Broward officials say power has been restored to all schools there.

As in Broward, Miami-Dade schools will offer not only the free breakfast available to all students, but a free lunch until further notice. All tardies and absences for Monday will be considered excused. Wednesday remains an early release day. Thursday is a teacher planning day, which falls on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

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