Tuesday Morning - August 24, 2021

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues from SNA

Table of Contents

COVID-19 Policy Updates

FNS Posts New State Guidance on COVID P-EBT
No Kid Hungry Publishes New Communication Resource on School Meals for Students and Families

Federal Policy

SNA Sends Letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack Addressing Supply Chain Disruption in Schools
USDA Announces $69 Million Investment in Food and Nutrition Security
School Hunger Elimination Act of 2021
Team Nutrition Discloses New Training Grant Award Recipients for 2021

State Snapshots

Maryland Pediatric and Anti-Hunger Groups Advocate for Permanent Free School Meals
Massachusetts Introduces Legislation to Increase Participation in CEP

Mark Your Calendars

Upcoming SNA Webinars
Team Nutrition Webinars
Congressional Management Foundation Webinars
Institute of Child Nutrition

Mystery Chat Corner

COVID-19 Policy Updates

FNS Posts New State Guidance on COVID P-EBT

On August 18, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published updated state guidance on Coronavirus Pandemic EBT (P-EBT). P-EBT provides eligible school children with temporary emergency nutrition benefits for purchasing food. This guidance includes Questions and Answers (Q&A) and a Template Plan to assist State agencies administering this program.


No Kid Hungry Publishes New Communication Resource on School Meals for Students and Families

This week, the nonprofit No Kid Hungry and FM3, a California-based research company, published a series of national surveys and discussion boards with parents and students in low-income households to assess their experiences and opinions of school meals. This research aimed to evaluate students’ and families' reactions to key messaging designed to encourage greater participation in school meals. This resource highlights some key recommendations to increase and enhance students’ engagement with school meals for both in- and out-of-school learning due to school closures.

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The school nutrition team at Pate's Creek Elementary School in Stockbridge, Georgia, is ready for students and served up fresh broccoli during their first week back at school.

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Federal Policy

SNA Send Letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack Addressing Supply Chain Disruption in Schools

SNA continuously monitors the ongoing, nationwide supply chain disruptions and their impact on school meal programs during the back-to-school season. On August 23, SNA sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack that included the Association's recommendations to USDA on how to ease pressure on programs struggling with procurement problems. SNA has been in close touch with USDA regarding these specific issues; read the full letter here.

USDA Announces $69 Million Investment in Food and Nutrition Security

On August 17, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a $69 million investment to address critical food and nutrition security needs of low-income communities, enhance the resilience of essential food systems impacted by the pandemic and maximize the funds reaching participants. Specifically, $61.5 million of this investment will be allocated for Nutrition Incentive Grants, and $7.5 million will go toward Produce Prescription Grants. Both grants are part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program COVID Relief and Response (GusCRR) grants program. These investments aim to assist low-income communities and their families impacted heavily by COVID-19 and improve the resiliency of current food systems.

School Hunger Elimination Act of 2021

On August 5, Sens. Robert Casey (D-PA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced S. 2664, the School Hunger Elimination Act of 2021. This legislation would amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to improve school nutrition program requirements, including expanding direct certification, community eligibility and providing retroactive reimbursements to school districts. This bill has been referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

Team Nutrition Discloses New Training Grant Award Recipients for 2021

On August 16, USDA Team Nutrition announced its award of an additional $1.4 million in Training Grants for the 2021 Fiscal Year to State Agencies administering the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Team Nutrition has awarded approximately $5.5 million in School Meal Recipe Development grants across 21 State Agencies this year. These grants assist states and school districts in offering school meals supported by recipes that utilize local agricultural produce and reflect local taste preferences and food preparation practices.

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State Snapshots

Maryland Pediatric and Anti-Hunger Groups Advocate for Permanent Free School Meals

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent release of waivers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for school nutrition programs, there has been a distinct increase in pressure to make the current status of universal school meals permanent. Last week, Michael Wilson, the Director of Maryland Hunger Solutions, and Loretta Hoepfner, the Executive Director of Maryland Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, co-wrote the op-ed, "Childhood Hunger Will Last Beyond Next Year; Biden Administration, Congress Must Extend Free Meals Program." In this article, Wilson and Hoepfner urge Congress and the Biden administration to support Healthy Schools Meals for All by implementing legislation to permanently provide free school meals to all children. Read the full article here.

Massachusetts Introduces Legislation to Increase Participation in CEP

HB 3999 requires any school or district with an Identified Student Percentage (ISP) to implement the Federal Community Eligibility Provision 1 or Provision 2 to provide universal free school meals to students unless the district's school board votes to decline participation.

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Mark Your Calendars

Upcoming SNA 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.

Bringing Nutritious, Affordable, and Delicious School Meals to Life while Managing Common Allergens
3 p.m. EST Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Join Speakers Sherry Coleman Collins, a registered dietitian, Chef Vahista Ussery, MS, MBA, RDN, and Dr. Samara Sterling as attendees hear creative ideas to meet the needs of today's savvy students while also providing an affordable, delicious meal. In this webinar, you will hear from nutrition experts as each review important nutrition considerations for menu planning and potential product selection while considering current supply chain challenges. Speakers will also offer best practices for managing common allergens in school meals.

Get WILD with Global Flavors
3 p.m. EST Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Increasing meal participation is critical for all programs. One of the driving questions many operators have is how to keep their menus relevant to the new generations of students while embracing the diversity of their students. Thanks to the adventurous palates of today's parents, your students have been exposed to, and come to love, many more dishes with global flavors than previous generations. Join us for an exciting panel discussion where we will show you how you can easily incorporate international flavors in your menu while keeping your food costs down, utilizing USDA Foods and basic pantry staples you likely have on hand.

Team Nutrition

Master the Professional Standards Training Tracker Tool! 
2 p.m. Wednesday, August 25, 2021
Join Team Nutrition for a live demonstration of the Professional Standards Training Tracker Tool (PSTTT) and an overview of the Professional Standards resources. Participants will learn about the benefits of using the PSTTT and the new features that allow directors, managers, and staff to prepare for the 2021-22 school year! For questions about accessibility or to request an accommodation to participate in this event, please contact SM.FN.CNP-NTAB@usda.gov.

Planning for a Dynamic School Environment: Guidance for Meal Service Flexibilities 
2 p.m. EST Thursday, August 26, 2021
While many schools will return to their regular cafeteria meal service this year, some may continue with socially distant meal service models, such as grab-and-go meals or meals in the classroom. Some schools will provide a virtual learning option for students who are not ready to return to in-person learning this fall; for example, due to an increased risk of severe illness or special healthcare needs. To support schools in planning for a dynamic school environment, USDA has issued a set of nationwide waivers for School Year 2021-22. This webinar will help State Agencies and local program operators learn more about the available flexibilities and discuss scenarios for implementing waivers for the upcoming school year.

Congressional Management Foundation

Backstage Pass: Behind the Scenes of Congressional Decision Making 
3 p.m. EST Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Many Americans believe that lawmakers are unreachable–that they don't care about what constituents think and influencing legislative outcomes is impossible and a waste of time. Yet CMF research shows that Members of Congress strongly believe that constituents are a valuable and informative resource in the decision-making process. Your "backstage pass" will dispel myths about Congress and provide practical strategies on how decisions are really made and by whom.

Institute of Child Nutrition

STAR Webinar: Preparing to Pivot with a Food Safety Focus 
3 p.m. EST Thursday, August 26, 2021
This webinar will focus on preparing school nutrition professionals to develop a culture of food safety in their organization, respond to food safety emergencies, and consider water safety when reopening school buildings. For questions about accessibility or to request an accommodation to participate in this event, please contact helpdesk@theicn.org.

Mystery Chat Corner

On August 24, 1931, who became the first woman to complete a solo transcontinental non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean?

A: Amelia Earhart

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Arlington, VA 22206
servicecenter@schoolnutrition.org  

Tel (703) 824-3000
Fax (703) 824-3015

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