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Federal Legislation (FY 20-21)

Project Aims To Collect All Pandemic School Data

June 17, 2021

Brown University economics professor Emily Oster is working to compile and organize all state data about pandemic-era school operations. The goal is to ensure the data is consistent and available for researchers to use in the future.
Full Story: Education Week (6/15) 

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WV District To Mail School Meals Via UPS

June 16, 2021

Nearly 600 students in West Virginia's Ohio County Schools signed up to receive weekly UPS deliveries of shelf-stable breakfasts and lunches. District officials report there were some initial glitches with the program that have since been resolved, and the deliveries are scheduled through July 26.
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Summer Calendar

June 16, 2021

Celebrate Summer with SN’s Promotion Calendar
There’s still lots more to celebrate in June, such as Pollinator Week (June 21-27) and this fun observance, National Flip-Flop Day (June 18). Jump into July with all things summer, including National Blueberry Month, National Grilling Month and Independence Day (July 4). Read More
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Congratulations Baltimore City

June 14, 2021

School nutrition professionals in Baltimore City Public Schools have adapted during the coronavirus pandemic to alter foodservice operations and serve meals both to go and in person. Elizabeth Marchetta, the district's executive director of food and nutrition services, said staff overcame numerous challenges and reduced menu options to ensure students had consistent access to food during the past 15 months.
 Full Story: Food Management

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MD District Offers Free Summer Meals At Various Sites

June 7, 2021

Anne Arundel County Public Schools in Maryland plans to continue offering free meals to students over the summer break, said Jodi Risse, supervisor for the district's food and nutrition services. The free meals will be available at about 60 distribution sites.
Full Story: WBAL-TV (Baltimore) (6/5) 


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Stop Child Hunger Act

June 5, 2021

On May 26, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chair Senator Patty Murray (WA-D) along with Representatives Mike Levin (CA-49) and Jahana Hayes (CT-05), introduced S. 1831 or H.R. 3519, the Stop Child Hunger Act. Read More

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New USDA Data Analysis

June 5, 2021

New data from USDA allows for the first comparison between the number of meals served and reimbursements in the year preceding the pandemic (March 2019-February 2020) and the first full year of the pandemic (March 2020-February 2021). So, how did school nutrition programs fare in the first full year of the pandemic? Learn More

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Legislators to introduce Stop Child Hunger Act

May 26, 2021

Lawmakers are expected to introduce bills later today in the Senate and House of Representatives to expand and make permanent the summer Electronic Benefit Transfer program adopted during the coronavirus pandemic that provides funds for families to purchase food. The proposed Stop Child Hunger Act would replace the USDA's existing summer food initiatives.
 Full Story: NBC News
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Support Universal School Meals

May 26, 2021

Take Action: Support the Universal School Meals Program Act of 2021 
SNA has endorsed and is urging strong support for the Universal School Meals Program Act of 2021 to permanently offer free breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack to all school children regardless of income, eliminate school meal debt and strengthen local economies by incentivizing local food procurement. Take Action Now
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House Education and Labor Subcommittee Holds Hearing on FNS Priorities

May 26, 2021

House Education and Labor Subcommittee Holds Hearing on FNS Priorities
On May 12, the U.S. House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services held the hearing, "Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service." Read More
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SNA Joins Allied Groups on Letter to Secretary Vilsack on Expanding Direct Certification

May 19, 2021

SNA Joins Allied Groups on Letter to Secretary Vilsack on Expanding Direct Certification
On May 10, SNA, along with 10 other organizations, including the School Superintendents Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, signed on to an allied letter by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack. Read More

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TAKE ACTION: Support the Universal School Meals Program Act of 2021!

May 13, 2021

The School Nutrition Association (SNA) has endorsed and is urging strong support for the Universal School Meals Program Act of 2021. This act, introduced by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Gwyn Moore (D-WI), would ensure that all children have access to nutritious meals while at school, in summer and afterschool programs, and child care. 
 
The Universal School Meals Program Act of 2021 would:
 
  • Offer free school breakfast, school lunch, and afterschool supper for all children in schools and child care facilities.
  • Increase the reimbursement rates for school breakfast and school lunch to match the recommended rates from the USDA School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study – April 2019 
  • Eliminate unpaid meal charges by providing funding to schools for all delinquent school meal debt.
  • Create a $0.30 reimbursement for all schools that procure foods from local farmers and manufacturers in their community.  
  • Provide free summer meals to all children and extend Summer Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) to all low-income students.
 
Take Action: Support the Universal School Meals Program Act – our students depend on YOU to speak up!

SNA has and will continue to highlight the benefits of universal meals in schools, which remains the top priority on SNA’s 2021 Position Paper. Thank you and please feel free to reach out to advocacy@schoolnutrition.org with any questions.
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Support Grows For Universal School Meals

May 13, 2021

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., wants to include universal school meals in the Child Nutrition Reauthorization currently being considered by lawmakers. Under the Universal School Meals Program Act of 2021, free meals for all students would be made permanent and there would be incentives for schools to serve more locally produced food.
 Full Story: WAER-FM (Syracuse, N.Y.) (5/12),  WKTV-TV (Utica, N.Y.) (5/12) 

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Universal School Meals

May 10, 2021

PROGRESSIVES PUSH FOR UNIVERSAL SCHOOL MEALS: Even as President Joe Biden is urging Congress to use his latest proposals as an opportunity to expand some food aid and school lunch programs, progressives say it's time to make school meals free for everyone, report Helena Bottemiller Evich and yours truly 

Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation in their respective chambers on Friday that would make breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks free to all school children without means testing.

Money on the mind: The bills don’t allocate any specific funding and have not received a score from the Congressional Budget Office. School meals cost about $19 billion in 2019, when they were not universally without cost to students. It’s unclear how many of the nation’s 50 million public school children would participate in school breakfast and lunch if they were free.
Republicans, including Senate Agriculture ranking member Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas, have criticized the potential costs of such an expansion. 

But Omar told POLITICO the need for providing meals is too great to be concerned about the cost, though she expects it won’t break the bank. “When you make programs universal, you get rid of a lot of administrative costs,” Omar said.
What’s next: Proponents of the bill say the goal is to introduce the measure now to push efforts to go further in the next reconciliation package. But they are not ruling out other options, such with a stand-alone bill or child nutrition reauthorization.
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Food Allergy Resource Center

May 7, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created a tool kit to help schools implement the Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in order to prevent and manage severe allergic reactions in schools. The toolkit includes tip sheets, training presentations, and podcasts for school superintendents, administrators, teachers and paraeducators, school nutrition professionals, school transportation staff, and school mental health professionals. Learn More
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USDA Grants Impossible Foods a Child Nutrition Label

May 7, 2021

Plant-based meat alternative brand Impossible Foods has received certification from the USDA's Child Nutrition Labeling Program to print a food crediting statement on labels for its Impossible Burger. The label will allow the company to serve its plant-based meat in K-12 schools nationwide, with the brand initially debuting the food this month in California's Palo Alto Unified School District, Washington's Aberdeen School District, and Oklahoma's Union City Public Schools and Deer Creek Public Schools.
 Full Story: The Beet (5/6)  

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Texas Legislators Consider Ban On School Meal Debt

May 3, 2021

Lawmakers in Texas are considering legislation that would prevent students from accruing meal debt, ensuring they can always have access to school meals. "School meals are essential to a student's physical health and academic success," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. James Talarico.
 Full Story: KXAN-TV (Austin, Texas) (4/29)  
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Free Meal Waivers Expected to Benefit Schools

April 24, 2021

The USDA's decision to extend a waiver for free school meals comes as districts nationwide are facing challenges serving meals and higher costs associated with the coronavirus pandemic, says Diane Pratt-Heavner of the School Nutrition Association. Lauren Bauer, an economist at the Brookings Institution, says free meals could reach even more students next school year, when more students are learning in person.
Full Story: Marketplace (4/22) 
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Study Touts High Quality of School Meals

April 24, 2021

School meals are the highest-quality meals available in the US, according to a 14-year study by the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Researchers found that improvements in school meal quality coincided with passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
 Full Story: Good Morning America (4/22) 


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SNA Policy Update - School Nutrition Regulatory Actions

April 23, 2021

9.11.2020 USDA Publishes SFSP Reimbursement Waiver and Q&A on SFSP/SSO
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published two new documents. First, the Nationwide Waiver to “ Allow Reimbursement for Meals Served Prior to Notification of Approval and Provide Flexibility for Pre-approval Visits in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).” This waiver allows SFSP operators to forgo the requirement that reimbursements shall not be paid for meals served at a site before the sponsor has received written notification that the site has been approved for participation. This waiver expires on December 31, 2020. Second, Questions and Answers Relating to the Nationwide Waiver to Allow Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option Operations through December 2020. This memorandum includes questions and answers intended to provide clarification to State Agencies and program operators on issues related to recently published waivers for SFSP and SSO during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
9.15.2020 Clarification on NSLP/SBP Meal Pattern Rules for SY 2020-21
SNA continues to receive inquiries regarding meal pattern requirements for school meal programs operating the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs (NSLP/SBP). In April 2020, a federal district court ruling struck down USDA’s 2018 final rule, Child Nutrition Programs: Flexibilities for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Requirements. The ruling eliminated NSLP/SBP meal pattern flexibilities, reverting back to the 2012 meal patterns for grades K-12, which required flavored milk to be fat free; all grains to be whole-grain rich; and school lunches and breakfasts to meet sodium target 2.  
 
However, USDA’s COVID–19: Nationwide Waiver to Allow Meal Pattern Flexibility in the Child Nutrition Programs waived for all states the requirement to serve meals that meet the meal patterns during school year 2020-21. USDA is allowing school meal programs to use this meal pattern flexibility if they cannot meet the 2012 meal pattern requirements. In the August 21, 2020 FNS document, Questions and Answers for the Child Nutrition Programs during School Year 2020-2021 – #5, FNS addresses the issue on pages 5 and 6. School nutrition professionals operating NSLP/SBP should contact their State Agencies for more information on the waiver process. 
 
9.21.2020 SNA Joins Allied Groups on Letter to USDA
SNA, along with almost 1,400 national, state, and local organizations signed a formal letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This letter requests that USDA issue additional child nutrition waivers to support access and program operations through the 2020-2021 school year. Read the full letter
 
9.22.2020 FNS Response to SNA's Comments on School Meals Operations Study
In July of 2020, SNA submitted comments on the notice, "Agency Information Collection Activities: School Meals Operations Study: Evaluation of the School-Based Child Nutrition Programs." This week, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) provided its response that acknowledges the significant impact of COVID-19 on school nutrition operations. FNS states that it will use a web survey to collect data at the state level this year. The survey provides data for FNS to assess how each waiver was implemented at the state and local levels. The previously planned survey with school food authority (SFA) directors has been canceled for the 2020-2021 school year. Read the full letter
 
9.23.2020 SNA Applauds House Vote to Extend Critical Waivers
SNA is praising the House of Representatives’ recent vote to extend critical school meal program waivers through the end of the 2020-21 school year while urging for rapid Senate approval and immediate action from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to implement the waiver extensions. Late on September 22nd, the House passed a Continuing Resolution to include language allowing USDA to extend all Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) waivers through the end of the school year. Read the full press release
 
9.23.2020 SNA Member Addresses Congressional Committee on Education and Labor
SNA member Angela Richey, MPH, RD, SNS, addressed members of the House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services of the Committee on Education and Labor during a briefing entitled, “America’s Child Hunger Crisis: Examining the Urgent Need for Federal Action.” Richey serves as the Nutrition Services Director for Roseville Area and St. Anthony/New Brighton Schools in Minnesota. During the briefing, she provided an overview of the many challenges school nutrition professionals face as they continue to serve students during the pandemic. She stressed how critical child nutrition program waivers have been to meal program operations this year and thanked the House for the recent vote to extend the waivers through the end of SY 2020-21. Read the full story
 
9.29.2020 Federal Register: Information Collection for the Child Nutrition Database
The USDA published the Federal Register notice, "Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request-Child Nutrition (CN) Database." This notice is for a voluntary submission of data, including nutrient data from the food industry, to update and expand the CN Database. The CN Database is a USDA-approved software that allows schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) to analyze meals and measure compliance with USDA nutrition standards. Comments for this collection are due November 30, 2020. 
 
9.30.2020 U.S. Senate Passes Funding and Extends USDA Authority to Grant Waivers
The U.S. Senate passed H.R. 8337, Continuing Appropriations Act of 2021, a short-term funding bill that provides $1.4 trillion in continuing FY2021 appropriations for Federal agencies through December 11, 2020. This bill also extends the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) authority to issue and extend nationwide child nutrition waivers until September 20, 2021. USDA's authority was first granted back in March under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. President Trump has now signed the bill into law. 
 
10.1.2020 U.S. House Passes Updated HEROES Act
The U.S. House of Representatives passed an updated HEROES Act. Among other provisions, the bill provides “as much funding as necessary” for school meal programs, provides increased flexibility for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) in low-income communities, ensures that commodity allocations and other child nutrition program calculations are held harmless during months severely impacted by COVID-19, and requires the Secretary of Agriculture to make waiver applications, approvals and denials public in a timely manner. Read a summary of the bill
 
10.9.2020 USDA Extends SFSP/SSO Waivers through SY 2020-21
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the extension of all Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) waivers, allowing schools to offer meals to all children at no charge through the end of the 2020-21 school year. View USDA's guidance on the waiver extensions
 
USDA's press release included a quote from SNA President Reggie Ross, SNS. SNA has consistently advocated for these critical waivers to ensure school meal programs have the flexibility to adapt meal service in the event of unanticipated school closures or changes in learning models during the pandemic. This announcement comes after the passage of the Continuing Resolution by Congress, granting authority and funding to extend school meal waivers. These waivers also permit schools to allow parents to collect multiple days' worth of grab-and-go meals at curbside pick-up locations, so distance learners can safely and conveniently access meals for the week. Read SNA's press release
 
10.27.2020 USDA Responds to SNA Comments on COVID-19 Information Collection
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) responded to SNA's comments on its COVID-19 information collection. The purpose of this Federal Register notice was to gather information related to waivers and other flexibilities provided through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Acts. In its response, USDA emphasized its efforts to limit information collection and reduce its partners' burden. USDA thanked SNA for recognizing these efforts and for the continued partnership in serving America's children. 
 
11.2.2020 USDA Publishes Updated Q&A for SFSP and SSO Extended Waivers for SY 2020-21  
The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published "Questions and Answers Relating to the Nationwide Waiver to Allow SFSP and Seamless Summer Option Operations through SY 2020-21 – Q&As #3." This memorandum includes updated questions and answers intended to provide clarification to state agencies and program operators on issues related to recently published waivers for SFSP and SSO during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
11.25.2020 USDA Issues Proposed Rule to Restore School Meal Flexibilities
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) released proposed regulations to restore flexibilities for milk, whole grain, and sodium requirements in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). This proposed rule maintains Target 1 sodium limits through the 2023-24 School Year (SY), states that Target 2 limits take effect in SY 2024-25, and the final target is eliminated. It also requires half of all grains served under NSLP/SBP to be whole grain-rich and allows the service of low-fat flavored milk. 
 
USDA issued the proposed regulations following the April 13, 2020 federal district court ruling that vacated the 2018 Final Rule Child Nutrition Programs: Flexibilities for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Requirements due to procedural issues. SNA urged USDA to restore the flexibilities to ease the burden on school meal programs. 
 
12.10.2020 USDA FNS Summer Food Service Program Monitoring Waiver
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) posted the SFSP Monitoring Waiver. It waves the requirement that each state agency shall annually review sponsors whose program reimbursements, in aggregate, account for at least one-half of the total program reimbursements in the state in the previous year. 
 
12.17.2020 Federal Register: School Food Purchase Study IV
The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published the notice, "Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request." This collection invites the public and related agencies to provide comments regarding the data surrounding national estimates of food acquisitions for food purchases and USDA Foods made by School Food Authorities (SFAs) that participate in school nutrition programs. All written comments must be received by January 19, 2021. 
 
12.18.2020 Federal Register: Special Nutrition Programs Survey
FNS published the notice, "Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request-Generic Clearance for the Special Nutrition Programs Quick Response Surveys." This comment collection is to conduct short, quick-turnaround surveys of State and local agencies that provide food, education and other services in the Child Nutrition and Supplemental Nutrition and Safety Programs administered by FNS. All written comments must be received by February 16, 2021. 
 
12.22.2020 SNA Joins Allied Letter in Support of Universal School Meals
SNA, along with 64 other organizations, including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Hunger Free America, signed on to an allied letter by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) addressed to President-Elect Biden. This letter urges his administration and the 117th Congress to take every administrative step possible to establish Universal School Meals. Universal Meals would ensure that every child in the U.S. has access to nutritious breakfast and lunch at school to help support their academic success. Read the full letter
 
12.22.2020 Congress Passes School Meal Program Relief Funds
Congress passed, and President Trump signed into law a stimulus package to provide relief to those affected by COVID-19. This stimulus bill distributes emergency relief funds to school meal programs based on a formula that takes into account the level of reimbursement a program received in 2019 and the reimbursement received during the pandemic. Read SNA's full press release
 
12.29.2020 HHS/USDA Publish Dietary Guidelines for 2020-2025
USDA and Health and Human Services (HHS) published the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines. These guidelines provide science-based recommendations designed to foster healthy dietary patterns for all Americans—this edition also includes infants and toddlers. The guidelines also emphasized several Federal nutrition programs like the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program as examples of a healthy dietary pattern. 
 
12.31.2020 Federal Register: SFSP 2021 Reimbursement Rates
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published the notice, "Summer Food Service Program; 2021 Reimbursement Rates." This notice announces the annual adjustments to School Year (SY) 2020-21 reimbursement rates for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The reimbursement for breakfast has been raised to $2.46, an increase of 8.75 cents from the previous reimbursement rate. The lunch reimbursement is now $4.25 (16.25 cent increase), and snack has increased to 99.75 cents (4.25 cent increase). These adjusted rates will be in effect from January 1, 2021, through December 31, 2021. 
 
1.6.2021 USDA Extends Nationwide Waiver on Food Service Contract Duration for SFAs
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) extended the nationwide waiver "Food Service Management Contract Duration in the National School Lunch Program and Summer Food Service Program-EXTENSION." This extension permits School Food Authorities (SFAs), and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors to extend existing food service management company (FSMC) contracts through SY 2021-2022 or June 30, 2022. 
 
1.11.2021 SNA Submits Comments on School Food Purchase Study
SNA submitted its comments on the Federal Register notice, "Comment Request related to the Food and Nutrition Service School Food Purchase Study IV." In these comments, SNA outlines the struggles that School Food Authorities (SFA's) face with the current food supply chain and food availability during the pandemic. In addition, SNA requests useful suggestions on successful purchasing techniques to assist SFAs. Read SNA's full comments. 
 
1.25.2021 President Biden Signs Buy American Executive Order
President Biden signed an Executive Order to update and strengthen Buy American requirements across the federal government agencies. The White House released a fact sheet specifying that the order directs Federal agencies to close loopholes in existing Buy American rules, appoints a Director of Made-in-America to oversee implementation of the Executive Order, and increases oversight of waivers to domestic preference laws, among other provisions. Read the full story
 
2.2.2021 White House Publishes Fact Sheet Addressing Public Charge Rule
The White House published a fact sheet outlining President Biden's next steps toward reforming current immigration policies. Specifically, it states that President Biden has rescinded the previous administration's memorandum requiring sponsors to repay the government if relatives receive public benefits. It also instructs federal agencies to review the Final Public Charge Rule and other related policies. In previous comments, SNA has expressed concern that the change "will result in children going hungry during the school day, even though they are legally authorized and eligible to receive free or reduced priced school meals." 
 
3.3.2021 DOE Secretary Publishes Letter on Reopening Schools
The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) Secretary Miguel Cardona published a letter outlining his and the Administration's determination to reopen schools. In the letter, he outlines the essential role schools play in students' health and welfare. Also, Secretary Cardona outlines his commitment to expanding access to education and afterschool programs. Read the full letter
 
3.9.2021 USDA Announces the Extension of SFSP and SSO Waivers
During SNA's Legislative Action Conference, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the extension of crucial COVID-19 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) waivers through September 30, 2021. These waivers include: Meal Pattern FlexibilitiesFirst Week Site Visits for SFSPNon-Congregate FeedingOffer Versus Serve FlexibilitiesMeal Service Time RestrictionsParents/Guardians Meal Pick Up and Area Eligibility for Closed Enrolled Sites. Sec. Vilsack indicated a decision on SY 2021/22 waivers would be made in April. SNA is urging USDA to extend waivers through the end of SY 2021/21. Read SNA's full press release
 
3.25.2021 U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture Holds Hearing for CNR
The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing on "Child Nutrition Reauthorization: Healthy Meals and Healthy Futures." Chairwoman Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member Boozman (R-AR) called upon several witnesses, including SNA Public Policy and Legislation Committee members, Jessica Gould, RD, SNS, the Director of Nutrition Services at Littleton Public Schools in Colorado, and Diane Golzynski, Ph.D., RDN, the Director for the Office of Health and Nutrition Services for Michigan's Department of Education. During their testimony, Dr. Golzynski and Jessica Gould outlined the importance of a strong safety net such as school meal programs and the critical need for meal pattern flexibility. Read the full story and witness testimony. 
 
3.31.2021 GAO Publishes Report Revealing Stark Impacts on School Meal Programs
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published the report "COVID-19: Sustained Federal Action Is Crucial as Pandemic Enters Its Second Year." This report illustrates the overall decrease in the number of meals served through child nutrition programs due to school closures, outlining operators' financial issues and increasing food insecurity among children. However, the number of children still participating in these programs during the pandemic is currently unknown as some families may be accessing nutrition assistance through other programs. This report echoes the financial strains and decline in program participation in SNA's Report on Reimbursement and Meals Served in 2020. 
 
4.1.2021 USDA Issues Waiver to Streamline SFSP Application Process
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued the waiver "Nationwide Waiver to Allow Sponsors that Successfully Participated in the SFSP in FY 2019 to Operate as Experienced Sponsors in FY 2021." This waiver allows state agencies to use a streamlined application process for sponsors that did not operate the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 due to COVID-19 but did in FY 2019. 
 
4.14.2021 USDA Secretary Vilsack Testifies Before House Appropriations Subcommittee on 2022 Budget
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack testified before the House Appropriation's Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. The hearing covered USDA's priorities for the Fiscal Year 2022. In his testimony, Secretary Vilsack stated that he expects to announce waivers soon and reaffirmed his commitment to "working with school nutrition professionals." 
 
4.20.2021 Extension of COVID-19 Nationwide Waivers for 2021-2022 School Year
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the extension of critical COVID-19 waivers for school nutrition programs so that students can continue to safely receive free school meals for the 2021-2022 School Year. Under the waivers, school nutrition programs can maintain grab-and-go meal options, protect students' and staff health through pandemic safety measures, and continue curbside meal pick-up services for distance learners as needed. The waivers also allow schools to continue receiving the higher per-meal reimbursement rate offered under the Summer Food Service Program. Read SNA's press release.
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Free School Meal Waives to Remain Through 2022

April 22, 2021

President Joe Biden's administration has announced that USDA waivers, which were set to expire in September for schools to serve free meals to all students, will be extended through the 2021-22 school year. Diane Pratt-Heavner, director of media relations for the School Nutrition Association, called the continuation of the waivers a "lifesaver" for students, their families and school staff.
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CDC: Americans 16 and Up Can Now Get Covid-19 Vaccine

April 20, 2021

All US individuals ages 16 and older can now receive a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC, which said those with underlying medical conditions that raise the risk for serious complications should be given priority. Nearly 211.6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in the US as of Monday, with more than 85.3 million people now fully vaccinated.
 Full Story: Reuters (4/19),  Reuters (4/20) 
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COVID-19 Nationwide Waivers Extended for 2021-2022 School Year

April 20, 2021

Today, Tuesday, April 20, the Biden Administration announced the extension of several COVID-19 waivers to ensure students can continue to safely receive free school meals through the 2021-22 School Year. SNA members had called for waiver extensions to provide safe, equal access to healthy school meals and address continued pandemic meal service challenges. 
 
According to the USDA memo summarizing the waivers, all schools in States that opt-in are permitted to serve and claim meals through the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) through the 2021-22 School Year. The waivers also allow schools to continue receiving the higher per-meal reimbursement rate offered under the Summer Food Service Program. Further, USDA is issuing a nationwide waiver to allow schools to utilize specific meal pattern flexibilities. 
 
Read more in SNA’s press release
 
View the complete list of USDA’s Child Nutrition COVID-19 waivers
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Universal School Meals Proposed in Mass.

April 18, 2022

State lawmakers in Massachusetts are considering legislation that would establish permanent universal meals for students in 2022. The move is aimed at helping curb food insecurity and the stigma that may be associated with free school meals.
Full Story: WBZ-TV (Boston) (4/13) 
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Biden Proposes 40.8% Increase In Education Budget

April 13, 2021

President Joe Biden on Friday released his $1.5 trillion spending proposal for fiscal year 2022, which includes close to $103 billion for the Education Department -- a 40.8% increase from the previous fiscal year. The proposal includes $36.5 billion in Title I grants -- $20 billion more than the 2021 level and the largest investment in the program's history.

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CA Considers Adopting Universal School Meals

April 13, 2021

California would be the first state to ensure universal breakfasts and lunches for all students if the proposed Universal Meal Plan legislation is adopted. The bill -- introduced by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley -- would establish the universal meal program in the 2022-23 school year and would remove the typical application process used for the National School Lunch Program.
Full Story: EdSource (4/8) 
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Take Action: Keep School Nutrition Programs Viable!

April 8, 2021

COVID relief and Child Nutrition Reauthorization discussions are happening now. Take Action!
Following the recent Senate hearing on Child Nutrition Reauthorization, and amidst discussions in the Biden Administration and Congress regarding the next COVID relief bill, we need you to continue reminding our elected officials of the importance of keeping school nutrition programs viable.
School nutrition programs are critical to our nation's recovery - our students are depending on us to speak up!
Please take two minutes now to write to your legislators on the SNA Action Network.
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American Food for American Schools Act

April 1, 2021

Congressman John Garamendi (CA-03) introduced H.R. 465, the "American Food for American Schools Act." This bill strengthens the "Buy American" provisions requiring school districts to purchase domestically sourced products for in-school meals. Under the bill, school districts must obtain a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to purchase foreign-sourced food products funded by the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
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U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture Holds Hearing for Child Nutrition Reauthorization

March 25, 2021

Today, March 25th, the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing on "Child Nutrition Reauthorization: Healthy Meals and Healthy Futures." Chairwoman Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member Boozman (R-AR) called upon several witnesses, including SNA Public Policy and Legislation Committee members, Jessica Gould, RD, SNS, the Director of Nutrition Services at Littleton Public Schools in Colorado; and Diane Golzynski, PhD, RDN, the Director for the Office of Health and Nutrition Services for Michigan's Department of Education. 

During her testimony, Dr. Golzynski stated, "No child should experience hunger, and it is our responsibility as the adults that care for them to design and build the strongest safety net possible."?  Jessica Gould also outlined the critical need for meal pattern flexibility. "Operators across the country are committed to serving our students nutritious, well-balanced meals, but meeting Tier 2 — and very soon Tier 3 — sodium poses serious concerns for our programs and ultimately students," she stated. 

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Make It In America Act

March 24, 2021

On March 11, Senators Robert Portman (R-OH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mike Braun (R-IN), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced  S. 732, the Make It in America Act. This bill makes it harder for federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service, to use waivers to get around Buy American requirements, requiring the federal government to prefer American companies and purchase American-made products. Read Senator Portman's  press release.
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The Farm to School Act of 2021

March 24, 2021

On March 10, Representative Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands, along with Representatives Alma Adams (NC-12) and Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01), introduced the bipartisan bill  H.R. 1768, the Farm to School Act of 2021. This legislation reauthorizes the Farm to School Act to expand participation in USDA's Farm to School Grant Program to preschools, after-school programs and summer food service sites and increases mandatory annual funding from $5 to $15 million. Read Rep. Plaskett's  full press release.

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Speak Up to Preserve Flexibilities Now

March 24, 2021

It’s time to make your voice heard! The U.S. Senate is holding a hearing on Child Nutrition Reauthorization this Thursday, March 25, 2021. Your voice is needed now to preserve meal pattern flexibilities. Without your swift action, the whole grain, sodium and milk flexibilities, previously provided in the 2018 Final Rule, will end permanently. Take Action

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Get Ready for School Lunch Hero Day

March 22, 2021

If there was ever a year to recognize the heroic efforts of school nutrition professionals, 2021 is it! School Lunch Hero Day this year is Friday, May 7. Need help trying to figure out how you can celebrate in the time of COVID-19? Don’t worry, SNA has tools on hand to assist you in recognizing the amazing job our #lunchheroes do every day–and even more so as they remain on the front lines to feed students nationwide whether they are at home or in school! 
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This is the ninth year SNA has partnered with artist Jarrett J. Krosoczka, author of the “Lunch Lady” book series that started it all. We are excited to announce all new artwork from Jarrett this year featuring a new cast of lunch hero characters that you can share on social media! Download the artwork here and be sure to follow the guidelines

We are also excited to launch the all-new School Lunch Hero Day Shop, featuring School Lunch Hero masks! Check out our new pens, t-shirts, posters, bookmarks and more. Order your items today to ensure your heroes receive their gifts in time 
 
You’ll also find lots of recognition ideas on the website, including thank-you cards, also available in Spanish. Plan to spread the word and get the rest of your school, district and community with the help of our customizable press release and proclamation
 
We can’t wait to celebrate with you!


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New USDA Data

March 22, 2021

A new press release from SNA cites the urgent need for emergency financial relief for school meals programs. USDA data reveals school meal programs served 30% fewer meals to students and incurred significant losses in federal revenue in the first nine months of the pandemic. Read more.

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CDC Revises Guidance on Distancing in Schools

March 22, 2021

Newly revised guidance issued by the CDC today says 3 feet of physical distancing -- rather than 6 feet -- between students is sufficient for elementary schools and some middle and high schools, with everyone wearing masks. However, the 6-foot recommendation remains in place under certain circumstances, including between teachers and students, among teachers and staff, and in middle and high schools where community spread of the coronavirus is high and students cannot remain in cohorts.
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CDC Revises Guidance on Distancing in Schools

March 22, 2021

Newly revised guidance issued by the CDC today says 3 feet of physical distancing -- rather than 6 feet -- between students is sufficient for elementary schools and some middle and high schools, with everyone wearing masks. However, the 6-foot recommendation remains in place under certain circumstances, including between teachers and students, among teachers and staff, and in middle and high schools where community spread of the coronavirus is high and students cannot remain in cohorts.
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CDC Revises Guidance on Distancing in Schools

March 22, 2021

Newly revised guidance issued by the CDC today says 3 feet of physical distancing -- rather than 6 feet -- between students is sufficient for elementary schools and some middle and high schools, with everyone wearing masks. However, the 6-foot recommendation remains in place under certain circumstances, including between teachers and students, among teachers and staff, and in middle and high schools where community spread of the coronavirus is high and students cannot remain in cohorts.
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New Federal Directive Prioritizes Vaccination for School Staff

March 20, 2021

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued a directive that all states immediately make Pre-K-12 teachers, school staff, and childcare workers eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. As of March 8, the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program prioritized the vaccination of these individuals during the month of March. 
 
To reach the goal to get all teachers, school staff, and childcare workers their first vaccine by the end of the month, we need your help. Your direct communication to your team members and stakeholders letting them know about this directive is key. This directive covers everyone who works in a school.

Who Is Eligible Under the New Directive
  • Teachers and staff in Pre-K-12 schools, childcare centers, Head Start and Early Head Start programs
  • Licensed childcare providers, including center-based and family care providers
  • Classroom aides
  • Bus drivers
  • Janitors
  • Counselors
  • Administration staff
  • Cafeteria workers
  • Substitute teachers
 
Where Eligible Staff Can Get Vaccinated
 
  • Sign up for an appointment at:
  • Any state or local COVID-19 vaccination site that has available appointments
  • More than 9,000 pharmacy locations nationwide that are participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program 
 
How to Schedule an Appointment
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Teachers, school staff, and childcare workers who are interested in getting vaccinated should:
  • Visit the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program website to see which pharmacies are participating in their state. Most pharmacy partners are using online scheduling systems to schedule vaccination appointments for those eligible based on their available vaccine supply. They should check their local pharmacy’s website to sign up. 
  • Visit VaccineFinder.org to find out where vaccine is available in their community. 
  • Contact their state health department’s website to find additional COVID-19 vaccination providers in their area. 
 
For more information on the Federal Retail Pharmacy program see the FAQs
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SNA Advocates For Universal School Meals

March 16, 2021

School nutrition professionals are advocating for a continuation of a federal program to provide universal meals for students -- beyond when the current USDA waiver expires. "We can serve all students, and we are asking them to extend what we are already giving all students -- access to our healthy and nutritious meals," said Reginald Ross, president of the School Nutrition Association.
Full Story: WRDW-TV/WAGT-TV (Augusta, Ga.) (3/16) 
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Covid-19 Waivers, Free School Meals Extended to Sept. 30

March 15, 2021

SNA applauds the announcement at #LAC21 by US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack regarding the extension of key COVID-19 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) waivers through Sept. 30, 2021. Read the press release.

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Federal Bill Would Permit Whole Milk in Schools

March 15, 2021

School cafeterias in the US would be able to serve flavored and unflavored whole milk under the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2021, which has been introduced in Congress by Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., and Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-N.Y. Advocates say the move would give students access to the nutritional benefits of whole milk and make milk more appealing to students because whole milk is more flavorful.
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New SNA Food Allergy Webinar This Week—Register Now

March 15, 2021

We have a brand-new webinar this week and registration is now open!
 
Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 3:00 PM EST. 
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In this session, speakers will review the basics of food allergy management during the pandemic based on expert guidance; the intersection of food insecurity and food allergies; and the role of the school nutrition team. Listen in as experts share best practices and practical considerations for managing food allergens during the pandemic.
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USDA extends free school meals until Sept. 30

March 15, 2021

The USDA announced Tuesday that it would extend federal waivers to allow students access to free school meals until Sept. 30. Diane Pratt-Heavner, director of media relations for the School Nutrition Association, said the organization is still concerned about funding for expanded meal services and hopes the expiration of waivers is pushed out even further because remote instruction may continue in the fall, but SNA applauds the move to ensure students and families will maintain access to curbside meals.
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Join us for Week 4 of the Innovative Solutions Showcase

March 12, 2021

On Monday, March 15 at 3:00 pm EST, our industry partners are previewing many exciting new products for the upcoming school year in the Innovation Solutions Showcase.  We hope you can join us for this virtual opportunity to connect with representatives and ask questions. Register now.  
 
Next week’s sessions feature the following companies: 
 
  • Tyson Foods, Inc.—Be ready to view tools and insights developed to help improve Commodity Management. Listen as they discuss Flavor Trends with Culinary Ideation and talk through some product updates made to improve participation.  
 
  • School Food Handler—Interested in education solutions? Hear from the most user friendly and comprehensive education and tracking tool on the market!   
 
The Showcase will start promptly at 3:00 pm EST on Zoom and each session will run for approximately 30 minutes. After registering, you’ll receive a unique participation link. No need to register each week. The unique link in your confirmation can be used each week through the end of March. Please note that sessions are subject to change. But wait, there’s more!   
 
Each day of the Showcase there will be surprise giveaways from the presenting companies as well as random drawings for a complimentary registration to SNA's upcoming Back to School Virtual Summit in May 2021 and a $50 Amazon gift card. In order to be eligible for the drawings, you must be present and participate live in all showcases.
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LAC Feedback Form

February 27, 2021

SNA is making it easy for us to give them feedback.  We are planning to have you tell us your feedback at the end of the meeting and then we can email it back to SNA.  Michele and I will take notes from your verbal report and send the feedback sheets back to SNA.
Please complete your  Feedback Forms from your "Zoom the Hill" meeting. Return Options:

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Vilsack wins 2nd go-round as Agriculture secretary

February 27, 2021

The Senate approved the appointment of Tom Vilsack as Agriculture secretary on Tuesday, a move approved by industry groups including the Produce Marketing Association, United Fresh Produce and Western Growers. Vilsack previously served in the post for the eight years of the Obama administration.
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Join SNA and TITAN-A LINQ Solution for Week 3 of the Innovative Solutions Showcase!

February 27, 2021

How is your platform integration? Start off March by previewing the only platform of fully integrated solutions to help K-12 school districts better manage their operations as we host a session with TITAN-A LINQ Solution on Monday, March 1 at 3:00 pm EST in the third week of the virtual Innovation Solution Showcase
 
The LINQ platform includes solutions for finance & human resources, nutrition management, digital payments, school and district websites, custom forms including student registration, and document management. LINQ has been serving the K-12 community for over 30 years. Request a demo to learn more about contactless solutions. 
 
Don’t miss out on this free opportunity to connect with TITAN-A LINQ Solution and ask questions as they demonstrate their innovative product. Register now for Week 3! 
 
And remember, each day of the Showcase there will be surprise giveaways from the presenting companies as well as random drawings for a complimentary registration to SNA's upcoming Rebuilding Together: Back to School Virtual Summit in May 2021 and a $50 Amazon gift card. You must be present and participate live in all showcases in order to be eligible for the drawings.
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MD School Food Box

February 27, 2021

The USDA has chosen Laurel Elementary School in Maryland's Prince George's County Public Schools as a Farmers to Families Food Box program site -- part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Families recently came to pick up their 30-pound box, each of which typically includes produce, dairy products, cooked meat and milk.
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CDC Publishes New School Nutrition Resources

February 24, 2021

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published updated standards for safely reopening schools, including new school nutrition program guidance.
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SNA Joins Allied Letter in Support of Children’s Access to School Meals

February 18, 2021

SNA, along with 80 other organizations, signed onto the Child Nutrition Forum and National Alliance for Nutrition Activity (NANA) Joint Statement on COVID-19 recovery priorities. This statement highlights the necessity and importance of strong nutrition policies that improve children’s access to healthy meals to address health disparities exacerbated by this crisis.  Read the full joint statement.
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Universal Free Meals

February 16, 2021

Universal, free school meal programs during the coronavirus pandemic have been successful and should be adopted permanently, says Diane Pratt-Heavner, director of media relations for the School Nutrition Association. SNA is advocating at the federal level for universal, free meals, while some cities and states, such as California, are considering local adoption.
Full Story: The Counter (2/12) 
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Colorado District Sees Increased Need for Free Meals

February 16, 2021

Universal, free meals provided during the coronavirus pandemic have eliminated the stigma that can be associated with free meals and helped improve access to food, says Jessica Gould, nutrition services director for Colorado's Littleton Public Schools. Data shows there are families who would benefit from the continuation of the free meal program who would not otherwise be enrolled, Gould added.

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SNA Seeks Universal, Free School Meals Extension

February 2, 2021

The School Nutrition Association is backing legislation that would allow for universal, free school meals beyond emergency actions taken during the coronavirus pandemic. Donette Worthy, nutrition director at Alabama's Tuscaloosa County School System, says extending free meals indefinitely would promote access to nutritious food and the benefits would be seen in students' academic performance.
 Full Story: WVUA (University of Alabama) (1/29)  
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$75B Learning Recovery Act Would Address Learning Gaps

January 29, 2021

A proposal that was set to be introduced in the US House Thursday would provide $75 billion over two years to help schools address pandemic-related issues, such as bringing back and supporting disengaged students and addressing learning loss. The funds from the Learning Recovery Act would allow for additional learning time through "school extension" and other efforts to "diagnose, measure and reduce unfinished learning" among student subgroups as defined in the Every Student Succeeds Act.
Full Story: Education Week (1/28)  
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ND Bill Proposes Universal, Free School Meals

January 29, 2021

North Dakota lawmakers are considering a bill that designates $89.5 million from the state's Legacy Fund to provide free school meals for all students for two years -- July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2023. The bill is intended to help curb food insecurity for students, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic, Rep. LaurieBeth Hager said.
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USDA Publishes Second FFCRA Opt-in Waiver

January 28, 2021

USDA Publishes Second FFCRA Opt-in Waiver  
On January 15, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) published the waiver "  Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Opt-In Waiver for School Year 2021-2022 National School Lunch Program USDA Foods Entitlement Calculations." This waiver grants States the option to extend the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Opt-In Waiver for School Year 2020-2021. Therefore, States will use preliminary SY 2021-2022 entitlement values that continue to be based on SY 2018-2019 lunch counts. States that wish to participate must notify the Food Distribution Division Program Integrity and Monitoring Branch by January 31, 2021.  

USDA Announces Expansion of P-EBT 
On January 22, President Biden's administration announced that USDA is increasing the Pandemic-Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) by approximately 15%. P-EBT was first established under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed by Congress in March 2020 and connects low-income families with kids with food dollars equivalent to the value of the meals missed due to COVID-related school closures.  Read more
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Get Social with NSBW Social Media Graphics

January 28, 2021

Increase awareness of #NSBW21 by uploading a themed Facebook cover photo (jpg) to your program’s Facebook page, Instagram picture to your account, or Twitter banner! To download, once the image opens in a new window, right-click to save a copy to your computer. Learn More

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President Signs Buy American Executive Order

January 28, 2021

On Monday, January 25, President Biden signed an Executive Order to update and strengthen Buy American requirements across the federal government agencies. Some organizationsare urging USDA to strengthen Buy America provisions for the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs as part of implementing this Executive Order. Read More
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Global School Closures Affect Food Access

January 28, 2021

Students worldwide have missed over 39 billion meals during the coronavirus pandemic -- which indicates school closures are affecting students' access to food -- according to a report from UNICEF and the World Food Programme. UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said closures, in particular, have affected vulnerable children whose primary source of food comes from school.

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Invitation to Serve On SNA's Child Nutrition Reauthorization Task Force

January 27, 2021

From SNA:
A new Administration and new Congress are now officially in place in Washington, DC, and the reauthorization of child nutrition programs will be a major focus in 2021.
 
To that end, SNA, through its conversations with Congressional staff of the Senate Agriculture and the House Education & Labor Committees, has learned that Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) will be a priority for the new Congress. As you know, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) celebrated its 10th anniversary in December 2020. Although there have been numerous pieces of legislation that have been introduced to amend the HHFKA over the last decade, the current law remains intact with no changes to date. 
 
On January 21, 2021, SNA’s Executive Committee approved the creation of the Child Nutrition Task Force 2021. The purpose of the Task Force is to gather a group of Association members to review the various sections of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and identify proposed changes for a future CNR bill that would benefit school nutrition programs. We will then be sharing SNA’s priorities with members of Congress and the new Administration. 
 
The Task Force will be composed of five Subcommittees, with five members in each for a total of 25 Task Force members. Each Subcommittee will focus on the coupled topic areas outlined below:
 
  1. Subcommittee #1:  Preserve School Meals Flexibilities Final Rule & Universal Meals 
  2. Subcommittee #2:  Unpaid Meal Charges, Food Waste & Time to Eat 
  3. Subcommittee #3:  Smart Snacks & Nutrition Education 
  4. Subcommittee #4:  Paid Lunch Equity & Uniform Application 
  5. Subcommittee #5:  Administrative Reviews & Indirect Costs 
 
Due to the COVID pandemic, the CNR Task Force discussions will be conducted virtually over a series of five meetings in February and March.  Your commitment to serve will include a 1.5 -2 hour conference call.  The Subcommittee meetings with dates and times will be scheduled following the selection of the 25 Subcommittee members. 
 
Please complete the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Task Force Form and select up to three (3) Subcommittees that are of interest to you. Please know that we are looking for individuals that have an excellent grasp or subject matter knowledge of the identified topic areas that are of interest. The SNA Board will select 25 individuals from those responding.  Upon selection, SNA headquarters will notify the 25 members that they have been selected and will share which Subcommittee they have been assigned.  Following the selection and identification of the 25 Subcommittee members, conference calls will be scheduled and any necessary background materials will be emailed in advance of the calls. 
 
The deadline for submitting your interest form is February 3, 2021. 
 
Thank you again for your interest in participating in the CNR Task Force 2021. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail either one of us.
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Executive Order Take Steps To Curb Student Hunger

January 26, 2021

President Joe Biden on Friday signed an executive order to increase Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer payments and direct the USDA to consider how states could expand emergency benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. In announcing the order, Biden said it is intended to curb hunger among students who are missing meals they usually receive at school.
Full Story: Education Week (1/22) 
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Advocates for Unversal Free Meals

January 28, 2021

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted the USDA to issue waivers to allow all schools to provide students with free meals through the end of the school year. Advocates for childhood nutrition say universal, free meals are the optimal offering and help to curb food insecurity, improve outcomes for students and remove the stigma that often accompanies meal assistance.
Full Story: The Hechinger Report (11/24) 
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Universal Breakfast and Lunch

January 28, 2021

Universal, free school meals are "integral" to students' education, according to a recently published position paper by the School Nutrition Association. The coronavirus pandemic, in particular, has put children at an increased risk of going hungry, and universal access to meals would improve health and remove burdens for families, SNA asserts in the paper.
Full Story: FoodNavigator(1/22) 
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MD Distrct Meets High Demand For Meal Kits

January 21, 2021

School nutrition professionals in Maryland's Washington County Public Schools quickly scaled up plans to offer free winter-break meal kits for students after receiving about 3,000 online orders -- expecting only 1,000 orders -- said Michael Embly, the district's food and nutrition services supervisor. He described how staff quickly acquired the needed food and handled distribution.
Full Story: Food Management (1/20) 

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LAC21 Speakers and Sessions You Don't Want to Miss

January 20, 2021

You have the power to shape national policies relating to school nutrition, and it starts at the 2021 Legislative Action Conference. With this year’s conference going virtual, school meals advocates have unprecedented access to all that LAC has historically offered, including the amazing opportunity to hear from Washington, D.C., insiders, as well as vital professional development opportunities in these challenging times. 
 
#LAC21’s agenda is jam-packed with can’t-miss speakers and sessions, including:  
 
  • The Opening General Session (Monday, March 8) features keynote speakers Andrew H. Card, Jr., and Leon Panetta. A politician and academic administrator with the second-longest tenure as White House Chief of Staff, Card has served in senior government roles under three U.S. presidents. Panetta, a former U.S. Representative from California, has served in a number of high-ranking government roles, including Secretary of Defense, Director of the CIA, White House Chief of Staff and Director of the Office of Management and Budget. 
  • The USDA 2021 Update Session (Tuesday, March 9) will look at what 2021 may bring with a new administration, a new Secretary and a new set of priorities and initiatives. Top officials from the Department will share their insights and plans to address the challenges facing school meal programs in light of COVID-19.  
  • The Lessons Learned from COVID: Best Practices session (Tuesday, March 9) during which a panel of school nutrition directors, state agency members and industry representatives will look at what they learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and what strategies they’ll continue to implement in the future.  
  • The Presentation of the SNA 2021 Position Paper (Wednesday, March 10), which will officially unveil SNA’s roadmap and advocacy plan that will guide conversations with the new 117th Congress—vital information for all school nutrition professionals to hear and understand.  
 
The role of school nutrition—and school nutrition professionals—is more important than ever, and effective advocacy is vital to the sustainability and success of school meals programs. #LAC21 is a can’t-miss event—register now for three impactful afternoons of advocacy (early bird rates end February 5!)
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National School Breakfast Week

January 13, 2021

NSBW Toolkit Is Your Essential Playbook
Use the toolkit to expand the campaign message, “Score Big With School Breakfast," which encourages one’s best effort, teamwork, courage and perseverance, not just in sports-related activities but in all pursuits. Find decorating and costume ideas, menu suggestions and ways to engage parents and the media. The simple DIY planner will get you started. Learn More
 
Visit the SNA NSBW Shop
SNA is kicking off 2021 with new merchandise for National School Breakfast Week (NSBW). Visit the NSBW SNA Shop—now open with budget-friendly merchandise—to bring your ideas to life!
 
Register for the NSBW Marketing Ideas Webinar
NSBW partner Kellogg’s will present a free webinar with a panel of experts, Marketing Ideas to Help You SCORE BIG for Breakfast, on January 21. You’ll glean a full range of ideas to run with, build on or use to jump-start your team’s own imagination—register now.
 
New Activity Sheets to Engage Students
The NSBW 2021 activity sheets include coloring pages, games and puzzles to encourage students to have fun working through NSBW-themed activities with classmates. 
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SNA Releases 2021 Position Paper

January 13, 2021

SNA calls on Congress to permanently offer school meals to all students at no charge through the expansion of the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs and to take additional steps to ensure school meal programs' long-term sustainability. Read More
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Oregon School Installs Dividers in Cafeteria

January 12, 2021

Students at Mazama High School in Oregon noticed a few changes intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as they returned to in-person learning recently. Changes include the installation of dividers at school lunch tables to help stave off student-to-student transmission of the virus.
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Lidder Machine

January 7, 2021

Dayton Public Schools in Ohio purchased a "lidder" machine that seals meals and provides instructions for students and their families to heat the meals at home. The machine was intended to help the district expand access to school meals during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Emergency Cost for CNP

January 7, 2021

SNA applauded Congress for passing a stimulus bill which includes critical funds to offset some of the losses school nutrition programs have incurred during the pandemic. School meal program revenue has been slashed due to COVID-19 school closures and other challenges. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that in March and April 2020, schools served almost 400 million fewer meals than in the same time frame in 2019, resulting in a drastic drop in federal reimbursements. Learn more.
 
See below:
SEC. 722. EMERGENCY COSTS FOR CHILD NUTRITION PROGRAMS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
 
Provides emergency relief to help school meal and child and adult care food programs, which are in dire need of financial assistance, to continue serving children and families. Provides as much funding as necessary to carry out these payments.
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Insulated Bags that Safely Deliver Meals

January 7, 2021

Keeps meals HOT or COLD from the kitchen to your kids 
Whatever your meal service method; delivery or drive-thru, classroom or grab n’ go, our Premium Insulated Bags allow you to keep food, snacks, and drinks hot or cold for extended periods of time. Our tear-resistant, antimicrobial liner prevents spills from leaking into the insulation foam and causing unpleasant odors, mold, and bacteria. Made in the U.S.A. using high quality materials for a long-lasting bag! 
Call 1-800 523 8715 to order now
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US Space Force celebrates School Lunch Week

January 5, 2021

During National School Lunch Week, service members from the US Space Force recorded video messages about the day's menu for the class with the greatest boost in school meal participation in Texas' Copperas Cove Independent School District. The collaboration with the space service branch of the US Armed Forces was part of the week's theme of "Blast Off with a Healthy School Lunch."
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