Tuesday Morning - March 24, 2020

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

Coronavirus Relief Bill and USDA Waivers
Relief Grants Available to School Food Authorities
Allied Organizations Urge USDA to Implement Families First Coronavirus Act Waivers
Federal Register: SY2020-2021 Income Eligibility Guidelines
Supporting Students in Response to Coronavirus Act

State Snapshots

Kentucky Introduces Amendment to Address School Closures During COVID- 19
Louisiana Proposes Bill to Suspend School Activities and Measure Impacts on Student Health
Maine Requires School Nutrition Providers to Maintain Services Throughout School Closures
Minnesota Presents Multiple Bills to Address the Needs of Foodservice Workers and School Meals
Missouri Creates Bill to Ensure Child Nutrition Services During Pandemic
New Jersey Introduces Legislation to Implement School Meal Vouchers and Remote Instruction

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars
FRAC Meals Matter Webinars

Mystery Chat Corner

Federal Policy

Coronavirus Relief Bill and USDA Waivers

President Trump signed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which contains several provisions to support school nutrition programs working to serve students during coronavirus-related school closures. SNA has been advocating for more emergency feeding options for school meal programs. On March 20th, USDA released three nationwide waiver approval letters for states under Section 2202 of H.R. 6201.

State agencies have been provided a copy of this guidance document on this provision. State agencies should contact their respective FNS Regional Offices with questions. Additional information regarding FNS’s response to COVID-19 is available online.

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Relief Grants Available to School Food Authorities

School Food Authorities (SFAs) and other community organizations can seek financial assistance through emergency grants from No Kid Hungry. The grants can be used to support local efforts like home-delivered meals, grab ‘n’ go meal programs, school and community pantries, backpack programs and other initiatives. No Kid Hungry is providing $1 million in grant funding immediately. For further information and to see if you’re eligible for a grant, complete the application process from No Kid Hungry.

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Allied Organizations Urge USDA to Implement Families First Coronavirus Act Waivers

SNA joined 20 allied organizations in a letter urging US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to implement school nutrition program waivers provided through the Families First Coronavirus Act signed by the President on March 18th. The letter asks USDA to move swiftly with their authority to broadly grant waivers to support the provision of meals in communities throughout the country. Read more details in the letter.

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Federal Register: SY2020-2021 Income Eligibility Guidelines

The USDA has posted income eligibility guidelines to be used in determining eligibility for free and reduced price meals and free milk effective from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

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Supporting Students in Response to Coronavirus Act

House Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) introduced legislation to provide more than $3 billion in emergency funding for early childhood education programs, K-12 schools and higher education institutions in response to the severe disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding provided through the Supporting Students in Response to Coronavirus Act, HR 6275, will help maintain critical child care operations, give schools the funding they need to cope with school closures and offer support for students in higher education by providing additional emergency financial aid for basic necessities such as housing, food and health care.

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State Snapshots

In order to combat the impact of school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several states have introduced amendments and legislation to address any complications and shortfalls for providing meals and services through School Meal Programs.

Kentucky Introduces Amendment to Address School Closures During COVID- 19

House Floor Amendment 1 of HB 461 allows the Kentucky Department of Education to seek waivers from any federal agencies that will allow for school districts to serve and be reimbursed for providing meals. Specifically, this amendment allows for service in non-congregate settings and reduces the mandatory wait times between serving meals. This amendment also encourages all schools to maximize opportunities during this public health emergency to address food insecurity issues among students.

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Louisiana Proposes Bill to Suspend School Activities and Measure Impacts on Student Health

SCR 23 requires the closure of all schools due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, suspends specific educational protocols and necessitates the monitoring of the effects that closures will have on a student’s overall health and academic performance.

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Maine Requires School Nutrition Providers to Maintain Services Throughout School Closures

SP 789 or LD 2167 requires operators to continue to provide nutrition services to students during school closures in response to the threat posed by COVID-19. This bill also implements provisions to ensure the health, welfare and safety of all public school students.

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Minnesota Presents Multiple Bills to Address the Needs of Foodservice Workers and School Meals

HF 4415 or SF 4369 provides compensation for hourly food service employees for any workdays that are subsequently canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak during the 2019-2020 school year

SF 4401 modifies school meal policies and aid, including the definition of school meals and a la carte items, service procedures and reimbursement requirements. This bill also requires all public schools that participate in school meal programs to create and organize an online website where the meal is served and a clear and concise student meal charge policy.

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Missouri Creates Bill to Ensure Child Nutrition Services During Pandemic

HR 5497 requires that school districts take any necessary steps to protect the health and welfare of students without the fear of funding restrictions or punishments due to shortfalls or an inability to meet minimum hour requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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New Jersey Introduces Legislation to Implement School Meal Vouchers and Remote Instruction

A 3840 or S 2281 requires school districts to provide school meals or vouchers to students that are eligible for free or reduced-price meals during school closures.

A 3813 or S 2292 permits the use of virtual remote instruction to meet minimum 180-day school year requirement to meet individual eligibility for federal reimbursements.

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Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars

SNA is providing a series of educational webinars providing the latest updates and best practices for dealing with these unprecedented school closures due to Covid-19.

COVID-19 Series: Tips for Effective Communication with Your Community During COVID-19 School Closures
Wednesday, March 25, 2020, 2:00 pm ET
During these unprecedented times, experts recommend social distancing. However, there has never been a more important time to leverage social media and other communication channels. Consistent, factual and – whenever possible – positive messaging about your program is absolutely critical when school meals are being served during school closures.
Feed School Kids Now: How Industry Partners Can Help School Feeding During COVID-19
Wednesday, March 26, 2020, 11:00 am ET
Join speakers SNA Chief Executive Officer Patti Montague, SNA SVP Membership and Professional Development, Jen Lewi, SNA Research Manager, Donovan Lessard and SNA Industry Advisory Council Chair and CEO of Gold Star Foods, Sean Leer, as they address the challenges and opportunities of feeding millions of children during the COVID-19 crisis.
SNA COVID-19 Wellness Series: Taking Care of Yourself So You Can Take Care of Them During COVID-19
Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 2:00 pm ET
SNA invites you to join us for an important wellness-focused webinar hosted by SNA President-elect, Reginald Ross. You’ll hear from a wellness expert and the dynamic Director of Dining Services at Londonderry School District (N.H.), Amanda Venezia, who will provide a preview of her planned session at ANC 2020 “Social Emotional Wellness: Me First!” This webinar will teach you important self-care strategies to ensure you can continue serving your community.

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FRAC Meals Matter Webinars

Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) Meals Matter webinar series assist school nutrition professionals in the operation of school meal programs.

Growing Stronger, Sustainable Year-Round Programs
Thursday, April 16, 2020, 1:00 pm ET
Sponsors and children both benefit when year-round meals are provided seamlessly in communities through the Summer Food Service Program and Afterschool Meal Program, and March is the perfect time to finalize plans for moving from afterschool to summer meals. This webinar will cover best practices, streamlining opportunities, and new resources for establishing strong, financially viable year-round meal programs.

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Mystery Chat Corner

On March 24, 2005, what U.S. tv comedy series premiered based on the British version created by Comedian Ricky Gervais?
A: The Office

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

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

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