Tuesday Morning - July 14, 2020

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

COVID-19 Policy Updates

SNA Urges USDA to Keep School Meals Safe and Accessible for ALL Students
House Appropriations Committee Pushes for USDA to Issue Nationwide Waivers

Federal Policy

USDA Announces Additional Commodities for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
USDA Expands Access to Online Food Purchase Program
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Calls for Universal Meals

State Snapshots

Massachusetts Introduces Amendment to Fund Child Nutrition Outreach Program
New Jersey Bill Promotes the Passage of CARE for Kids Act of 2019
Rhode Island Creates Bill to Ban Single-Use Straws

Mark Your Calendars

School Nutrition Association Webinars

Mystery Chat Corner

COVID-19 Policy Updates

SNA Urges USDA to Keep School Meals Safe and Accessible for ALL Students

On July 10th, SNA sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to request that USDA take swift action to guarantee safe and reliable access to healthy school meals and ensure school meal programs can remain fiscally sustainable. SNA urges USDA to allow school meal programs to continue serving students through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) or Seamless Summer Option (SSO) and to immediately extend all SFSP/SSO COVID-19 waivers, including Area Eligibility waivers, through the end of SY 2020/2021. Due to current obstacles and the enormous financial impacts of the pandemic on families and school meal programs, SNA is requesting that all schools be allowed to serve meals to all students at no charge. This change will significantly speed up service, reduce the risk of disease exposure and ensure eligible students have consistent access to free meals without being overtly identified as needy in front of their peers. Read the full press release.

House Appropriations Committee Pushes for USDA to Issue Nationwide Waivers

On July 9th, the full House Appropriations Committee met to markup the 2021 Appropriations bill. During this meeting, the committee included a Manager’s Amendment that urges the Secretary of Agriculture to issue a nationwide waiver as soon as possible to extend the current Area Eligibility and Non-Congregate Feeding waivers. Also, this amendment calls for USDA to allow school districts to use the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) regulations for the duration of the 2020-2021 school year. 

Federal Policy

USDA Announces Additional Commodities for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

On July 9th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a list of additional commodities for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). USDA announced other adjustments to the program based on the comments received through the Federal Register from agricultural producers and related organizations. These adjustments include new commodities, correcting payment rates, and expanding types of currently eligible commodities. Producers may submit applications that include these commodities starting July 13, 2020.

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USDA Expands Access to Online Food Purchase Program

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced approval of requests from Utah and Nevada to provide online purchasing of food to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households. This approval will allow these states to expedite the implementation of online purchasing with currently authorized SNAP online retailers with a target start date to be announced at a later time. For a complete list of states where SNAP online purchasing is operational, click here.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Calls for Universal Meals

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation posted the articleTo Help Recover From COVID-19, We Need Universal Free School Meals.” This article emphasizes the impact that COVID-19 has had on school nutrition programs and their operators, particularly administrative burdens when determining free or reduced-price eligibility. This article argues for the passage of universal meals so that schools may be spared financial and administrative duties, and more children can receive healthy meals that help them learn and grow.

State Snapshots

New Jersey to Develop Additional Form as Part of School Lunch Applications

A 4387 requires the New Jersey Commissioner of Education and Secretary of Agriculture to develop a form that would allow any parent or guardian who fills out a school lunch application to share eligibility information with the Department of Human Services if he or she so chooses.  This consent form shall be attached to, included, or incorporated into, the school lunch application form to determine eligibility for other assistance programs such as NJ Family Care and Medicaid programs.

Mark Your Calendars

School Nutrition Association 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.

Building Resilience & Promoting Mental Health During Challenging Times
Wednesday, July 15, 2020, 2:00 PM ET
Renown psychotherapist and mental health expert Joyce Marter provides encouragement and practical tools for school nutrition professionals to better manage stress while experiencing the unique challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Marter will help you promote your mental health and wellbeing with proven strategies from cognitive-behavioral therapy and mindfulness practices. Attendees will learn new tools to manage fear, uncertainty and change and foster resilience and will receive resources for practicing self-care and accessing support.

Food Research and Action Center Webinars

Maximizing Opportunities to Ensure Students Nutrition Needs 
Thursday, July 30, 2020, 3:00 PM ET 
Back-to-school planning looks a lot different this year, given the impact of COVID-19. Join this webinar to learn how you can continue to strengthen and expand your school nutrition programs, especially school breakfast and afterschool meals, in this new environment. Efforts to increase participation pay off throughout the school year, with endless benefits for students as well as your bottom line. Speakers will share effective strategies to expand, adjust, and promote your offerings to ensure the nutritional needs of students are met this coming school year.

Mystery Chat Corner

On July 14th in 1874, the first zoo in the United States opens in which city?
A: Philadelphia

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Contact Us

2900 S. Quincy Street, Suite 700
Arlington, VA 22206
servicecenter@schoolnutrition.org  

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

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