Tuesday Morning - June 30, 2020

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

COVID-19 Policy Updates

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue Addresses SNA Patrons
New and Extended SY 2020-21 COVID-19 Waivers
Senate HELP Committee to Hold Hearing to Examine School Reopening
U.S. Representatives Perlmutter and Neguse Request Waiver Extensions

Federal Policy

USDA Expands Access to Online Food Purchase Program
USDA Announces $12.1 Million in Farm to School Grant Awards
Team Nutrition Releases Best Practices for Parent Pick-Up of Meals

State Snapshots

California Appropriates Funds to Support Access to School Meals
Michigan to Cover School Food Service Costs Incurred During COVID-19
New Jersey Introduces Bill to Support School Breakfast Program
New York to Provide State Aid for Delivering School Meals
North Carolina Proposes Bill to Fund for School Nutrition Services

Mark Your Calendars

School Nutrition Association Webinars

Mystery Chat Corner

COVID-19 Policy Updates

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue Addresses SNA Patrons

On Friday, June 26, 2020, Secretary Perdue virtually addressed the SNA Board of Directors, the Public Policy and Legislation Committee, the State Agency Advisory Council and industry members during the School Nutrition Association’s Patron Forum.  The Secretary began his remarks by thanking all members for their “remarkable ability to adjust during the pandemic and keep kids fed.” Perdue noted that the number of feeding sites has almost tripled since COVID-19, going from 20,000 locations to 60,000 sites nationwide.  “USDA is dedicated to ensuring that school has the flexibility to continue to feed kids in the coming school year,” said Perdue.  When asked about sodium requirements for SY 2020/2021, the Secretary said that they were moving forward to make the technical changes needed, as laid out by the Final Rule on sodium and whole grains.  The Secretary reiterated that USDA remains a willing partner to all in the school foodservice sector and remains open to hearing about challenges and accommodations needed to continue to feed kids through this pandemic and beyond.

New and Extended SY 2020-21 COVID-19 Waivers

The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the extension of multiple COVID-19 emergency feeding waivers to last through the end of 2020-2021 School Year. The extension of these waivers will allow school meal programs to continue grab-and-go meal pick up for distance learners, serve meals to students in the classroom or adjust meal service in the event of sudden COVID-19 school closures. The waivers that have been extended include:

Additionally, USDA announced a new waiver to address offer versus serve requirements at the high school level. Read more in SNA’s press release. For up to date information, check out SNA’s Action Network page on USDA FNS Waivers and Guidance for full details on waivers and extensions.

Senate HELP Committee to Hold Hearing to Examine School Reopening

Today, at 10:00 AM, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on returning to school and work during COVID-19. Witnesses include the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, Assistant HHS Secretary for Health Brett Giroir, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, and CDC Director Robert Redfield. Watch the full hearing here.

U.S. Representatives Perlmutter and Neguse Request Waiver Extensions

On June 23rd, U.S. Representatives Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Joe Neguse (D-CO) sent a letter to Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting the extension of several waivers through the end of SY2020-21. In their letter, the congressmen stress that school districts need certainty and flexibility as they continue to navigate this crisis and prepare for changes to school programming. Read the letter.

Federal Policy

USDA Expands Access to Online Food Purchase Program

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced approval of requests from South Dakota and Kansas 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.

USDA Announces $12.1 Million in Farm to School Grant Awards

On June 29th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it’s awarding $12.1 Million in Farm to School Grants. These Farm to School Grants will support a wide range of activities that increase the number of local foods served in child nutrition programs and teach children about food and agriculture. The Farm to School Grant Program includes a new track for state agencies seeking to engrain the use of local foods in child nutrition programs across their state, not just in the school meals programs but also in childcare centers and at summer meal sites.

Team Nutrition Releases Best Practices for Parent Pick-Up of Meals

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Team Nutrition has created a handout on B est Practices for Parent Pick-Up of Meals. This resource includes tips and helpful suggestions to ensure that all participants are safe while following local or district-wide protocol for receiving a meal. Check out the FNS website for more information and useful resources on serving or receiving meals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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State Snapshots

California Appropriates Funds to Support Access to School Meals

SB 98 or AB 77 appropriates funds to local education agencies from the Federal Trust fund for activities that support academic achievement and mitigate learning loss related to COVID-19 school closures, including access to school breakfast and lunch programs.

Michigan to Cover School Food Service Costs Incurred During COVID-19

HB 5914 provides state aid to the Michigan Department of Education to cover the costs of food service incurred during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

New Jersey Introduces Bill to Support School Breakfast Program

S 20 or A 3 appropriates additional funding that is required to cover the cost of breakfast to any public school student eligible for a reduced price breakfast under the School Breakfast Program (SBP).

New York to Provide State Aid for Delivering School Meals

S 8585 authorizes school districts to use school transportation funds to cover the expenses of transporting and delivering school meals to students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

North Carolina Proposes Bill to Fund School Nutrition Services

S 113 or H 1023 provides $75,000,000 to the Department of Public Instruction in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic for emergency school nutrition services, including innovative school meals, for schools participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), or Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

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
Staying motivated can be difficult during the best of times and requires even more focus when unexpected events happen. As school nutrition professionals plan for schools to reopen, employees motivated to deliver exceptional service are key to adapting to a new norm. In this webinar, we'll explore how to focus on motivating ourselves first and how this impacts our team. It will help each attendee learn what they can do to inspire lasting success

Food Research and Action Center Webinars
Team Nutrition is an initiative of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to support child nutrition programs through training and technical assistance. 

Mazimizing 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

In 1906, on this day (June 30th), the U.S. Congress passes the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act; these laws owe much to the expose journalism of the period, particularly this author’s book “The Jungle”?
A: Upton Sinclair

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