Tuesday Morning - July 6, 2021

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues from SNA

Table of Contents

COVID-19 Policy Updates

SNA Sends Letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack in the Wake of U.S. Foods Announcement
FNS Posts New State Guidance on COVID P-EBT

Federal Policy

FNS Publishes Study on School Nutrition and Meal Cost
CARE for Kids Act

State Snapshots

Arkansas Passed Bill to Set Nutrition Standards on School Vending Machines
California Proposes Amendments to Education Code on Funding Formula
Connecticut Passes Legislation on Lunch Shaming and Unpaid Meal Charges
Illinois Presents Resolution to Seek Health Benefits for School Food Service Staff
Vermont Introduces Community Schools Act
Washington Drafts Bill to Provide Grants to Improve School Nutrition Infrastructure

Mark Your Calendars

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

Mystery Chat Corner

COVID-19 Policy Updates

SNA Sends Letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack in the Wake of U.S. Foods Announcement

On June 30, SNA sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack concerning the recent announcement from the national distributor U.S. Foods on the cancellation of school food contracts. School districts in Florida, Kansas and Pennsylvania that had contracts with U.S. Foods were notified that "due to labor shortages and warehouse capacity," the company will no longer serve their school meal programs for the 2021-22 school year. In this letter, SNA illustrated the dire situation that these school districts face trying to find a distributor to supply food for their meals programs. The letter also conveys SNA's ongoing concern that other school districts may continue to be impacted and the potential for more widespread disruptions in the supply chain. Read SNA's full letter.

FNS Posts New State Guidance on COVID P-EBT

On June 29, 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 State Template Plan to assist State agencies administering this program.

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On June 30, Virginia Delegate Candidate (District 45) J.D. Maddox worked with school nutrition staff from Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) to prepare and distribute school meals at Alexandria City High School.

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Federal Policy

FNS Publishes Study on School Nutrition and Meal Cost

On June 29, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) released its report "School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study." This study is a comprehensive assessment of the school meal programs across the country since the updated nutrition standards for school meals went into effect during the 2012-2013 School Year. Read the full report.

CARE for Kids Act

On June 17th, Representative Jahana Hayes (D-CT-05) introduced H.R. 3997, the Caregivers, Access and Responsible Expansion for Kids Act of 2021, or CARE for Kids Act. This bill would expand school meal eligibility to the 2.7 million children who have been displaced due to crises like the opioid epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic and now live with grandparents or other caregivers. Senator Bob Casey (PA-D) previously introduced S. 1590, its companion bill in the Senate. Read Rep. Hayes’ full press release.

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State Snapshots

Arkansas Passed Bill to Set Nutrition Standards on School Vending Machines

HB 1783 permits students in middle and high school to access vending machines throughout the day that offer food or beverages that meet nutrition standards set under the Federal Smart Snacks in School Program.

California Proposes Amendments to Education Code on Funding Formula

AB 1055 amends California's Education Code to allow public schools to establish a new base year used in the local control funding formula. This base year is determined by the number of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals; therefore, schools may use a specific year's eligibility status as a base year for up to three years after.

Connecticut Passes Legislation on Lunch Shaming and Unpaid Meal Charges

SB 2 prohibits publicly identifying or shaming a child for unpaid meal charges, including taking disciplinary actions, refusing to serve a meal, or providing an alternative option. It also requires all local or regional Education Boards to create or include a policy or procedure for collecting unpaid meal charges to employees and third-party vendors for school meals.

Illinois Presents Resolution to Seek Health Benefits for School Foodservice Staff

HR 77 urges Illinois' General Assembly to study and seek solutions for issues such as legislated salary parity, professional development and training, and access to health benefits for all education support professionals, including school foodservice staff.

Vermont Introduces Community Schools Act

H 106 creates the goal that at least 20% of all foods purchased by Vermont school districts or boards shall be locally produced foods by 2023. It also requires all school boards operating a school meal program to report to the Agency of Education an estimate of the costs of all foods purchased by the school board that were locally produced

Washington Drafts Bill to Provide Grants to Improve School Nutrition Infrastructure

HB 1080 appropriates grants to school districts to improve child nutrition and purchase kitchen equipment or upgrades, including creating school gardens or greenhouses to provide students with better access to fresh produce.

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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 6, 1945, which U.S. President signed an executive order establishing the Medal of Freedom?

A: President Harry S. Truman

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Arlington, VA 22206
servicecenter@schoolnutrition.org  

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

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