April's School Nutrition answers your questions on COVID-19.



The month of March happened in a blur: No sooner had it kicked off the world toppled into a global pandemic fighting a never-before-seen disease: COVID-19. This new strand of coronavirus stopped life abruptly:  schools shuttered, businesses closed their doors, individuals lost their jobs, places of worship stopped services, airlines were grounded, sporting events were cancelled and American citizens were instructed to stay indoors.

Because this pandemic caught most people off guard, confusion and information-overload became unintended consequences. Plus, in a constantly updating news cycle, it can be hard to receive reliable information. This special edition of School Nutrition acts as your pandemic primer. Understanding that information concerning the disease is quickly updating, please be aware that the material presented in the April issue was accurate as of press-time.

You’ve probably heard the terms “coronavirus” and “COVID-19” used a lot recently, but do you fully understand the difference? How series is this illness? Do you now the symptoms and how it differs from the flu or seasonal allergies? Get the basics on the disease and the pandemic, and SN answers many of your common questions to help you stay informed.  

Working with USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service was paramount to ensure students could continue to receive access to school meals. As parents grappled with childcare issues as schools were shuttered, an unintended consequence was how students would continue to receive school meals they rely on. SNA immediately started meeting with government officials and advocated on behalf of members. Once regulation flexibilities were instituted, many school districts across the country stepped up and continued to feed students. To continue to keep members informed of the rapidly developing situation, SNA instituted a new webinar series, sent out numerous member communications and made the difficult decision to cancel the upcoming National Leadership Conference (NLC) scheduled for late April.

Summer is right around the corner, and while no one truly knows how deep the impact of the pandemic will be, the summer months bring hope. One popular aspect of summer is the act of grilling. Meats, vegetables, fruits—you name it—can all be grilled, giving foods a unique flavor and char. But did you know that grilling can also be implemented at the school level? Even if just a few times throughout the school year, the novelty of grilled foods can boost participation amongst students and staff. (Plus, a good marinade can go a long way.)

And although many schools are closed for the remainder of the academic year, now may be a good time to look ahead and start planning some delicious and comforting welcome-back menus. Check out SN’s bonus web content, for over 10 drool-worthy breakfast recipes from cinnamon rolls to fancy toasts to layered parfaits to egg frittatas to inspire.

During this unprecedented and difficult time, School Nutrition is dedicated to bringing you accurate information and resources to help you, your staff and your program. While there is no playbook on how to handle a pandemic, by working together we can ensure no child loses access to healthy meals. And stay tuned for the May edition—as SN will continue its coverage on the novel coronavirus and how it is continuing to impact all facets of school meal operations.

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