Tuesday Morning - April 7, 2020

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

USDA Announces Two New Waivers for School Meal Programs During COVID-19
USDA Develops Interactive Map to Help Students Find Meals During COVID-19
SNA Comments on Determining Eligibility for Free and Reduced-Price Categories
SNF Launches Help Feed School Kids Now! Campaign
The Suspend School Meal Debt Act

State Snapshots

Kansas Introduces Legislation to Cover Costs due to COVID-19 PandemicCalifornia Introduces Bill to Designate Funds for School Meal Programs
Connecticut Introduces Lunch Shaming Legislation
Maine’s Resolution to Illustrate the Importance of Healthy School
Maryland Introduces Bill to Prohibit Lunch Shaming
Minnesota Drafts Bills to Address Meal Charge Policy and Plastic
Missouri Proposes Grants to Serve Students Meals During COVID-19
New Jersey Proposes Bill to Solidify School Nutrition Standards
Utah Governor Signs Smart Start Breakfast Program into Law  

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars
FRAC Meals Matter Webinars

Mystery Chat Corner

Federal Policy

USDA Announces Two New Waivers for School Meal Programs During COVID-19

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced two additional nationwide waivers to grant states flexibility for meal service during COVID-19 school closures. These waivers include:
  • Nationwide Waivers of Child Nutrition Monitoring: FNS has used its authority under FFCRA to waive certain onsite monitoring requirements for the school meals programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Summer Food Service Program, to maintain program integrity and support social distancing while providing meals. (Guidance for States on Monitoring Waivers)
  • Nationwide 60-Day Reporting Waiver: Under its FFCRA authority, FNS is extending the 60-day reporting deadline for all state agencies, school food authorities, and CACFP and SFSP sponsoring organizations for January and February 2020. (Guidance on 60 Day Reporting Waivers)
  • For a complete list of nationwide waivers and FNS actions to respond to COVID-19, visit USDA’s resources webpage.

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    USDA Develops Interactive Map to Help Students Find Meals During COVID-19

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a new online tool, “Meals for Kids” Site Finder. This tool was designed to assist families in finding meals for students while schools are still closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. This Meals for Kids Site Finder features more than 20,000 different meal sites in 23 states, and more locations will be added as states continue to submit information regarding congregate feeding sites each week. USDA is also making the data available to developers, to incorporate in other applications and this map is also available in Spanish here.

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    SNA Comments on Determining Eligibility for Free and Reduced Price Categories

    On March 23, 2020, SNA submitted detailed comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as part of the Federal Register notice Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Determining Eligibility for Free and Reduced Price Meals and Free Milk in Schools. These comments reflect the input of SNA members and emphasize the need for data matching through the direct certification process which has contributed to some streamlining of eligibility determinations. However, these comments also noted the paper application process and subsequent income verification remains a complex procedure to complete, especially at the start of the school year.

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    SNF Launches Help Feed School Kids Now! Campaign

    Last week, the School Nutrition Foundation launched the Help Feed School Kids Now! campaign to support your tireless efforts to feed America’s children while schools are closed during the ongoing COVID-19 national emergency. To help us reach our fundraising goal—we’re asking you to share! While you’re social distancing, take to social media & share the link to our GoFundMe page and the message with those in your circle: You need their support.

    Ask your friends and family to make a difference in the lives of your students during this unprecedented time of crisis. Asking them to make a donation—no matter how large or how small—to SNF’s Help Feed School Kids Now! campaign will help us raise these critical funds quickly. The application period for funds will open on Monday, April 13, but the fundraising starts NOW!

    The Suspend School Meal Debt Act

    On April 3rd, U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN5) introduced H.R. 6430, the Suspend School Meal Debt Act, to formally suspend the collection of all meal debt until the conclusion of the COVID-19 pandemic.This bill requires all school food authorities and local education agencies not to collect on any unpaid meal fees during the COVID-19 pandemic and suspend any late fees associated with outstanding meals. This legislation has been referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.

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    State Snapshots

    California Introduces Bill to Designate Funds for School Meal Programs

    AB 2887 allows school districts or county offices of education to use funds through any federal or state program to provide meals to a pupil, including the federal School Breakfast Program, the federal National School Lunch Program, the federal Summer Food Service Program, the federal Seamless Summer Option or the state meal program.

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    Connecticut Introduces Lunch Shaming Legislation

    SB 89 prohibits any disciplinary action against public school children for unpaid school lunch charges and to allow any public or private parties to donate to pay off such debt.

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    Maine’s Resolution to Illustrate the Importance of Healthy School Meals

    SP 777 specifies the importance of healthy school meals that support brain power with vitamins and nutrients needed for focus and energy, promote healthy eating habits outside of the classroom and decrease childhood obesity rates.

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    Maryland Introduces Bill to Prohibit Lunch Shaming

    SB 760 establishes a meal charge policy for addressing payment for meals, unpaid meal debt, the prohibition of stigmatizing actions and other issues related to the school meal programs and management of payments for school meals. This bill requires a school to notify a student’s parent or legal guardian about the status of individual school meal accounts.

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    Minnesota Drafts Bills to Address Meal Charge Policy and Plastic

    HF 4075 or SF 4401 requires any school that participates in the National School Lunch Program to adopt a school meal charge policy and post to its website. SF 4373 prohibits disposable polystyrene food service containers, plastic beverage stirrers at state and local government facilities and functions.

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    Missouri Proposes Grants to Serve Students Meals During COVID-19

    Amendment 2014HO2.27H or HB 2014 provides $10 million in grant money to not-for-profit organizations that provide meals to elementary and secondary students that qualify for free and reduced price lunch and whose schools have closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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    New Jersey Proposes Bill to Solidify School Nutrition Standards

    A 3282 requires public schools to comply with more stringent school lunch and breakfast nutrition standards adopted by USDA in 2012.

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    Utah Governor Signs Smart Start Breakfast Program into Law  

    HB 222 creates the Smart Start Breakfast Program to expand access to school breakfast in public schools. This new law creates an alternative breakfast service model and requires the state board of education to specify waivers for non-participation.

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    SNA's Upcoming Webinars

    Learn about hot topics in school nutrition and earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) with SNA’s popular professional development webinars. If you missed a particular webinar, catch up with SNA’s on-demand webinars.


    Best of #SNIC2020: Making it Happen: Sustainability and School Nutrition
    Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 2:00 pm ET
    From composting initiatives to reducing or changing packaging, what steps can you take to make your school nutrition program more sustainable? As presented at #SNIC2020, join this panel discussion to hear about sustainable practices from across the country and discuss what’s ahead for school nutrition.

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    FRAC Meals Matter Webinars

    Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) Meals Matter webinar series assist school nutrition professionals in the operation of school meal programs.

    Growing Stronger, Sustainable Year-Round Programs
    Thursday, April 16, 2020, 1:00 pm ET
    Sponsors and children both benefit when year-round meals are provided seamlessly in communities through the Summer Food Service Program and Afterschool Meal Program, and March is the perfect time to finalize plans for moving from afterschool to summer meals. This webinar will cover best practices, streamlining opportunities, and new resources for establishing strong, financially viable year-round meal programs.

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    Mystery Chat Corner

    On this day (April 7th) in 1917, this Montana Republican began her term as the first female Member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
    A: Jeannette Rankin

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