THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Office of P-20 Education Policy
We have received many questions regarding whether or not students must have a specific amount of time for lunch during the school day.
Chapter 296 of the Laws of 1994 amended Education Law to require all public schools to schedule a time for full-day students to eat lunch daily.
The legislation requires each school to schedule a reasonable time for every student attending pre-kindergarten through grade twelve to consume lunch. Since this legislation does not specify participation in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), all public schools, including those that do not participate in the NSLP, must comply with this law.
The definition of reasonable time was not stipulated and is left to the discretion of the district when preparing students’ schedules. Consideration should be given to the length of lunch lines and the time it takes students to consume a lunch.
The law does not require that students consume a meal in a cafeteria. Meals can be consumed in a classroom. Some schools accommodate students with full schedules by allowing students to consume their meals during classroom instruction.
Questions should be directed to your Child Nutrition Representative via 518-473-8781.