COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The School Nutrition Department is installing the final phase of high-tech palm scanning technology at all elementary schools for the 2015-2016 school year.
Meal payments for students are processed using Meral Computing Services (MCS) software with Fujitsu PalmSecure hardware.
The scanning device uses the same near-infrared technology that comes in a television remote control or Nintendo Wii video game and takes a super high-resolution infrared photograph of the vein pattern just below the skin.
The image, between 1.5 and 2.5 square inches, is recorded, digitized and stored on an encrypted server.
When a student comes through the serving line, he or she can hold a hand over a black box, which scans the palm and links it to the child's meal accounts.
"It's a secure way to ensure a student's identity when paying for a school meal, decreases the time students may spend in line, and takes less than four seconds to complete each sale," said School Nutrition Director Susan Schlader.
The palm scan system was first installed at high schools during the 2013-2014 school year. Phase two was completed at middle schools and Early Success Centers during the 2014-2015 school year.
Participation is voluntary. Parents may opt-out by notifying their child's school in writing. Students who do not use the palm scan must bring a student ID to the cafeteria to purchase a meal.
Parents may pre-pay for their child's school meals with cash or money order. In addition, parents may pre-pay online by accessing the For Parents link at www.muscogee.k12.ga.us and clicking on the Pay for School Meals icon, which allows parents to enroll and add money to their child's meal accounts.
The Pay for School Meals link provides instructions on how to add money to a student's account. Any unused funds that were applied to the child's account last year will automatically roll over to the child's account for 2015-2016 school year.
Parents must use the child's personal ID number, which can be obtained from the child's school. Personal checks are not accepted for meal payments.
For more information, parents should contact their child's school.