Tuesday Morning - July 20, 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

Federal Policy

The School Food Modernization Act
USDA Announces New Farm to School Grants
FNS Releases Results from 2019 Farm to School Census
Federal Register: USDA Publishes New Reimbursement Rates for SY2021-22

State Snapshots

Arkansas Passes Healthy Active Arkansas Schools Act
California Appropriates Funds to Improve Kitchen Infrastructure and Foodservice Training
Illinois Introduces Legislation to Ban Polystyrene Foodservice Containers
New Jersey Writes Legislation to Create Online Application for School Meal Programs
Texas Presents Bill to Establish Local School Health Advisory Councils
Washington Creates Legislation to Address Lead in School Water

Mark Your Calendars

Upcoming SNA Webinars
Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)
Congressional Management Foundation Webinars

Mystery Chat Corner

COVID-19 Policy Updates

FNS Posts New State Guidance on COVID P-EBT

On July 15, 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.

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covid19-image

At Brunswick Country Schools in Bolivia, North Carolina, the school nutrition team serves up smiles and summer meals ready for pick up.

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Federal Policy

The School Food Modernization Act

On July 9, Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) and Glenn Thompson (R-PA) introduced the bipartisan bill H.R. 4379, the School Food Modernization Act. This bill would help local schools replace outdated kitchen equipment to provide more students access to healthy and nutritious meals. Specifically, it would allow schools to participate in a loan assistance program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help them buy new kitchen equipment and build new infrastructure. Read Congressmen DeSaulnier's full press release.

USDA Announces New Farm to School Grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it's awarding a record-breaking $12 million in Farm to School Grants for FY 2021. Farm to School Grants help to expand the access to fresh, local foods and hands-on agricultural learning for children across 45 states and the District of Columbia. The awarded projects will serve more than 1.4 million students at more than 6,800 schools. Read USDA's full press release.

FNS Releases Results from 2019 Farm to School Census

On July 15, USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published the 2019 Farm to School Census, a nationwide survey of school food authorities (SFAs) that collects information on the scope of farm to school activity and the overall impact of farm to school efforts. The 2019 results come from 12,634 responding School Food Authorities (SFAs) in all 50 states, U.S. territories and Washington, D.C. The census determined that nearly two-thirds (65%) of school districts or local entities responsible for school meals participated in Farm to School activities during the 2018-2019 school year, and more than half (57%) began within the past three years. Read the full report here.

Federal Register: USDA Publishes New Reimbursement Rates for SY2021-22

On July 16, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its annual adjustments to 2021-22 School Year (SY) reimbursement rates for the National School Lunch Program, Special Milk, School Breakfast Program (SBP) and the Child and Adult Care (CACFP). In school food authorities that served less than 60% free and reduced-price lunches in School Year (SY) 2019-2020, the payments for meals served are Contiguous States—paid rate—$.035 ($0.02 increase), free and reduced-price rate—35 cents ($0.02 increase), maximum rate—$0.43 ($0.02 increase). Overall, reimbursement rates this year for the NSLP, SBP and the SMP either remained the same or increased compared to last year, and these rates are effective through June 30, 2022.

In addition, this notice included a special note that stated, "in lieu of the reimbursement rates for School Food Authorities (SFA) operating the NSLP SSO under FNS issued nationwide waivers #85 (Nationwide Waiver to Allow the SSO through School Year 2021-2022) and #86 (Nationwide Waiver to Allow SFSP Reimbursement Rates in School Year 2021-2022), the SFSP reimbursement rates will similarly be updated effective Jan. 1, 2022, through a future notice published in the Federal Register.

State Snapshots

Arkansas Passes Healthy Active Arkansas Schools Act

HB 1848 provides Arkansas' Department of Agriculture funding to reimburse public school schools and districts $0.10 for each school meal that utilizes local farm or food products.

California Appropriates Funds to Improve Kitchen Infrastructure and Foodservice Training

SB 130 or AB 130 appropriates $150,000,000 from the General Fund to California's Department of Education to distribute to local educational agencies; $120,000,000 is designated for kitchen infrastructure upgrades to increase student access and improve the quality of the fresh produce and nutritious meals available. In addition, $30,000,000 is to be used for foodservice staff to receive training on promoting healthy foods.

Illinois Introduces Legislation to Ban Polystyrene Foodservice Containers

HB 3067 prohibits the sale or distribution of disposable polystyrene foam containers in schools, state and local government facilities.

New Jersey Writes Legislation to Create Online Application for School Meal Programs

A 3595 directs New Jersey's Department of Agriculture, in consultation with New Jersey's Department of Education, to establish an online application for the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.

Texas Presents Bill to Establish Local School Health Advisory Councils

SB 396 requires school districts to establish a local school health advisory council to review the school district policies regarding the marketing and commercial advertising on district property of food products not offered through the school meal program.

Washington Creates Legislation to Address Lead in School Water

HB 1139 requires any school whose water tested positive for lead to develop a school action plan to eliminate any lead in water used for drinking, cooking or food preparation in consultation with a local health agency.

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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.

Community Eligibility: Last Chance to Lock in Free Meals for Four Years
Wednesday, August 11, 2021, 3:00 PM EST
Community Eligibility adoption season is upon us! As the September 30 adoption deadline for the 2021-22 school year approaches, community eligibility provides a unique opportunity to offer free meals to all students in high-poverty schools. The dramatic increase in need and SNAP participation driven by the pandemic will help make community eligibility financially viable for more school districts and schools. Even as many schools operate their nutrition programs under the summer waivers, adopting CEP for the 2021-22 school year will allow schools to lock in higher Identified Student Percentages for four years to serve as many meals free of charge as possible beyond the pandemic. Join us to discuss helpful tools and tips for implementing community eligibility and making it work financially for your school nutrition operations.

Get WILD with Global Flavors
Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 3:00 PM EST
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.

Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)

Everything You Need to Know about GS1 GDSN! Accessing Nutrient, Allergen and Ingredients 
Thursday, August 5, 2021, 2:00 PM EST
This webinar is intended for States Agencies (SA) and school districts that serve USDA Foods as part of their current child nutrition programs. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) plans to release a new initiative to allow States and school districts to access up-to-date, vendor-specific nutrition, allergen and other ingredient information for direct-delivered USDA Foods. The GS1 GDSN project will inform the ordering decisions of any FNS stakeholders to help manage overall meal planning to ensure it meets USDA nutrition standards. This project will also ensure stakeholders provide safe meals with food allergies and other special dietary needs for students. This webinar will help listeners learn more about this project that will become available after USDA Foods vendors are required to submit specific nutrition, allergen and ingredient information.

Congressional Management Foundation

Backstage Pass: Behind the Scenes of Congressional Decision-Making 
Wednesday, September 21, 2021, 3:00 PM EST
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.

Mystery Chat Corner

On July 20, 1969, which Lunar Module carrying Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon's surface for the first time?

A: Apollo 11

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