Tuesday Morning - June 15, 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
USDA Publishes COVID-19 Questions and Answers for States

Federal Policy

USDA Withdraws Proposed Rule on Categorical Eligibility in SNAP
SNA Comments on COVID-19 School Meal Operations Study
Improving Training for School Food Service Workers Act of 2021
House Education and Labor Subcommittee Holds Hearing on CNR Priorities

State Snapshots

Illinois Drafts Legislation to Examine Sugary Beverages in Schools
North Carolina Introduces Bill to Eliminate School Meal Copay
Oregon Appropriates Funding to Eliminate Reduced-Price Category

Mark Your Calendars

Upcoming SNA Webinars
Congressional Management Foundation Webinars

Mystery Chat Corner

COVID-19 Policy Updates

FNS Posts New State Guidance on COVID P-EBT

On June 10, 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.

USDA Publishes COVID-19 Questions and Answers for States

On June 8, USDA published the guidance, "COVID-19 Questions and Answers for States." This guidance includes a series of documents on questions and answers on flexibilities and waivers for the child nutrition programs intended to support operations and provide meals to students while also supporting social distancing to reduce exposure to COVID-19.

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covid19-image 

The child nutrition services team at Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in Houston, Texas, is ready and prepared for summer feeding and curbside pickup.

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Federal Policy

USDA Withdraws Proposed Rule on Categorical Eligibility in SNAP

On June 9, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) withdrew a Proposed Rule on Categorical Eligibility in SNAP. This Proposed Rule, originally published on July 24, 2019, limited states' ability to participate in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to determine eligibility for SNAP. SNA previously submitted comments regarding this Proposed Rule, specifically outlining concerns that it would result in many children losing access to free school meals and some schools losing access to recently implemented programs under the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). SNA was also concerned that school nutrition professionals would be burdened with substantially increased workloads and costs from outreach, paperwork and processing of applications for impacted families.

SNA Comments on COVID-19 School Meal Operations Study

SNA submitted comments in response to the USDA FNS Federal Register Comment Request, “School Meal Operations Study: Evaluation of the COVID-19 Child Nutrition Waivers and Child Nutrition Programs.” In the comment letter, SNA encouraged USDA to recognize and adjust for abrupt changes in traditional school meal operations due to the pandemic crisis. Without national coordination, each local educational agency has implemented best practices and actions to address their needs and address safety and social distancing protocols. SNA recommends that FNS convene a commission to evaluate the processes and methods used during this emergency health crisis and develop a national playbook on operating school meal service programs in various emergencies. Read the full comment letter.

Improving Training for School Food Service Workers Act of 2021

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) has introduced S.1834, the Improving Training for School Food Service Workers Act of 2021. This act would ensure that training for school food service occurs during standard working hours; if training cannot happen within scheduled work hours, the bill clarifies that any employee must be informed in advance and financially compensated for overtime.

House Education and Labor Subcommittee Holds Hearing on CNR Priorities

On June 10, the U.S. House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services held the hearing, "Ending Child Hunger: Priorities for Child Nutrition Reauthorization." During this hearing, Committee Chair Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) stated, "we have the opportunity to rethink our child nutrition programs to provide every child with the healthy food they need to succeed in school and throughout life" and "to make these flexibilities permanent to ensure kids have access to healthy and nutritious meals year-round." Watch the full Subcommittee hearing.

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State Snapshots

Illinois Drafts Legislation to Examine Sugary Beverages in Schools

HR 266 urges the Illinois General Assembly to examine the impact of sugary beverages on children, specifically directing the Assembly to review federal guidelines on school nutrition and beverage products sold in public schools.

North Carolina Introduces Bill to Eliminate School Meal Copay

HB 946 appropriates $3,900,000 from the General Fund to North Carolina's Department of Public Instruction for the 2022-2023 fiscal year to be used to cover school meal copays for all students who qualify for reduced-price lunches under the National School Lunch Program.

Oregon Appropriates Funding to Eliminate Reduced-Price Category

SB 5514 permits Oregon's Department of Education to spend up to $2,850,375 from the State School Fund to provide lunches, at no charge to students eligible for reduced-price lunches under the United States Department of Agriculture's current Income Eligibility Guidelines.

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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.

Smoothie and Parfait Programs to Drive Participation
Wednesday, June 23, 2021, 3:00 PM EST
Summer is busy, but it is also one of the best opportunities to explore new ideas! Join us during National Dairy Month and learn about dairy’s journey from farm to school, the nutritional benefits of dairy in children’s diets and, most importantly, how to ADD or UPDATE your district’s smoothie and parfait programs. There will be multiple recipes, batch-cooking techniques, marketing tools shared! Speakers include Chef Sharon Schaefer, the Executive Director of Evolution of the Lunch Lady and Director of Nutrition Services in Gretna Public Schools, Neb., plus Nebraska dairy farmer Mary Temme and registered dietitian and dairy nutrition expert LaChell Miller.

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.

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 June 15, 2019, which famous baseball player's jersey was sold for $5.64 million in New York at auction and officially became the most expensive sports memorabilia ever sold?

A: Babe Ruth

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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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SNA State Associations

The School Nutrition Association has a presence in every state across the country. View links to many of the state associations to find out more about what SNA is doing nationwide. 

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