USDA Extends Flexibilities for Continued Meals for Students

lunchbox, lunch set, school lunchThe United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service recently announced the extension of three waivers giving child nutrition program operators continue flexibility through the summer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Waivers will extend school disticts’ grab-and-go meal sites through the summer, allow parents to pick up meals for their children, and provide flexibility in when meals are serve in order to provide multiple meals at one pick-up- minimizing how many times families will need to make the trip. These waivers have been extended through August 31, 2020.

From the press release:

“USDA has been extremely aggressive in expanding flexibilities to ensure Americans who have been impacted by the coronavirus continue to receive the food they need for themselves and their families,” said Secretary Perdue. “As our nation reopens and people return to work, we want to continue to be flexible since there is not a one size fits all approach to feeding kids. Extending these waivers throughout the summer ensures local operators can make plans that best suit their communities and keep children fed.”

Data from the School Nutrition Association show 81% of school districts nationally (that responded to the survey) use drive-through pick up sites, 58% allow families to walk up to the sites, and over 40% are delivering meals to students’ homes. The survey also showed that 80% of respondents are serving fewer meals now that schools are closed. Out of the 1,894 school districts that responded to the survey, 861 districts estimated the revenue decline at more then $626 million for the current school year.

Read full USDA press release.

Read School Nutrition Association survey report.