USDA Announces Waiver Options on Meal Service During COVID-19 Closures


Emergency-Planning.jpg On March 5, SNA sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) outlining options for emergency feeding during coronavirus-related school closures. The next day, USDA notified State agencies of the opportunity to request waivers related to meal service during these unanticipated closures. These waivers would allow School Food Authorities (SFAs) enrolled in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) or the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) the opportunity to serve meals in a non-congregate setting at area eligible school sites.

Once approved, this State waiver authority would enable school sites, where 50% or more of the student population is eligible for free or reduced price meals, to offer grab and go meals, rather than requiring students to eat meals onsite. On March 10, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Perdue discussed these flexibilities before the House Appropriation Committee. A video of the exchange and information for State agencies on submitting waiver requests is available in a USDA press release.

SNA is continuing conversations with USDA to identify additional solutions moving forward, in particular ways to allow all schools the opportunity to serve needy students. SNA has also created a web page to share up-to-date coronavirus information and resources with SNA members.

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