Tuesday Morning - May 11, 2021

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues from SNA

Table of Contents

COVID-19 Policy Updates

USDA Secretary Vilsack Speaks on Child Nutrition During White House Press Briefing

Federal Policy

SNA Submits Comment on Team Nutrition Database
Senate Agriculture Committee Announces Meeting on the Nomination for USDA Deputy Secretary
FNS Published 2021 Appropriations and Child Nutrition Program Memorandum

State Snapshots

Maine Introduces Three Separate Bills to Improve School Lunch Programs
Oregon Draft Legislation to Evaluate Students’ Time to Eat and Overall Success
Rhode Island’s Plastic Waste Reduction Act
Tennessee Introduces Legislation Requiring Water Filling Stations in Foodservice Areas
Texas Puts Forth Bill to Establish Protective Equipment Reserve Advisory Committee
Utah Drafts Legislation to Remove Stipend Exclusion for School Foodservice Workers
Vermont Presents Legislation to Establish Universal School Meals
Virginia Introduces Three Bills to Commend School District Nutrition Services Teams

Mark Your Calendars

Upcoming SNA Webinars
Arkansas Department of Agriculture

Mystery Chat Corner

COVID-19 Policy Updates

USDA Secretary Vilsack Speaks on Child Nutrition During White House Press Briefing

On May 5, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke during a White House press briefing concerning food and nutrition security. During this briefing, Secretary Vilsack outlined several critical investments USDA is looking to make for child nutrition and food security under the American Families Plan, including permanently expanding Pandemic EBT. He stated, "we are going to make permanent this incredible and historic effort to feed kids during the summer months… We’re also extending, with this effort, the opportunity to impact free school meals in high-poverty school areas by focusing on the Community Eligibility Program…And finally, we’re going to invest a billion dollars, with Congress’s help and assistance, in trying to figure out strategies that will improve, even more than we already have, the nutritional value and quality of the meals that youngsters receive in schools." Read the White House's full .

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covid19-image 

The school nutrition team at Wayne County Public Schools in North Carolina celebrated School Nutrition Employee Appreciation Day by doing what they do best, serving healthy and nutritious meals to students!

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Federal Policy

SNA Submits Comment on Team Nutrition Database

On May 3, SNA submitted its comments on the Federal Register notice, "Agency Information Collection Activities: Team Nutrition Database." This comment collection is regarding the Food and Nutrition Service's (FNS) Team Nutrition Database, which is used to communicate releases and publish updates for Team Nutrition resources. Read SNA's full comment letter.

Senate Agriculture Committee Announces Meeting on the Nomination for USDA Deputy Secretary

Last week, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Boozman (R-AR), the Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, announced that the committee will hold a meeting considering the nomination of Dr. Jewel H. Bronaugh to be Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. This meeting will take place on Monday, May 10th, at 5:30 PM. Read the committee's full press release.

FNS Published 2021 Appropriations and Child Nutrition Program Memorandum 

On May 5, USDA's Food and Nutrition Service published the memorandum, "Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 - Effect on Child Nutrition Programs." This memorandum serves as a notice to State Agencies and child nutrition program operators regarding specific sections of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. Specifically, it allows for substituting vegetables for fruits under the School Breakfast Program (SBP). In addition, it prohibits districts from using any funds to procure poultry products from the People's Republic of China and allows schools to offer low-fat 1% flavored milk under the NSLP and SBP. State agencies are required to distribute this memorandum to program operators and are encouraged to contact their regional FNS office with any questions.

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State Snapshots

Maine Introduces Three Separate Bills to Improve School Lunch Programs

  • HP 482 requires school administrators to provide all students at least 30 minutes to eat lunch unless it has been determined, after a public hearing, that a 30-minute lunch period would be impracticable.
  • SP 250 directs Maine's Department of Education to change the "Local Produce Fund" to the "Local Foods Fund" and maximizes state matching funds to encourage the purchase of locally produced foods for schools.
  • HP 707 requires Maine's Department of Education to develop an Internet-based application for free or reduced-price meals and for this application to be available on the department's publicly accessible website. It also allows any public school to publish the online application on its publicly accessible website.

Oregon Draft Legislation to Evaluate Students’ Time to Eat and Overall Success

HB 3338 directs the Oregon Department of Education to develop accountability measures related to school quality and student success indicators, including the amount of time students have to eat.

Rhode Island’s Plastic Waste Reduction Act

S 37 establishes the “Plastic Waste Reduction Act" designed to reduce the use of plastic bags by retail and public establishments, including schools, by offering recyclable bag alternatives.

Tennessee Introduces Legislation Requiring Water Filling Stations in Foodservice Areas

HB 1431 requires local boards of education and Charter schools to incorporate water bottle filling stations as a part of any new school building, specifically in any foodservice area.

Texas Puts Forth Bill to Establish Protective Equipment Reserve Advisory Committee

HB 1989 creates the Protective Equipment Reserve Advisory Committee to ensure the distribution and preservation of Texas's reserve of personal protective equipment for essential personnel, including school food service workers.

Utah Drafts Legislation to Remove Stipend Exclusion for School Foodservice Workers

HB 450 establishes the Supplemental Educator COVID-19 Stipend and removes the exclusion for contracted employees of a Local Education Agency (LEA), including school foodservice workers. 

Vermont Presents Legislation to Establish Universal School Meals

S 100 requires all public schools to make school breakfast and lunch available to all students at no charge and creates incentives for schools to purchase locally produced foods.

Virginia Introduces Three Bills to Commend School District Nutrition Services Teams

  • SR 553 commends Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) nutrition services and transportation division for their exceptional dedication to providing meals to students despite the challenges presented by COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, the LCPS food service team has prepared approximately 5 million breakfasts and lunches, including hundreds of thousands of dinners and snacks to feed students and children across the district.
  • HR 598 commends Fredericksburg City Public Schools (FCPS) nutrition services for their dedication to providing meals to students despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, FCPS has continued to operate its nutrition program, serving a total of more than 400,000 meals at multiple locations throughout the district.
  • HR 599 commends Stafford County Public Schools (SCPS) nutrition services for their commitment to providing meals to students despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Stafford County Public Schools successfully prepared, transported, and served over 18,120 meals to students and families during the first week of school closures.

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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.

A Guide to Reopen Schools: Best Practices in Food Safety and COVID-19 Prevention
Wednesday, May 18, 2021, 3:00 PM EST
In this session, CDC and USDA speakers will provide an overview of best practices for COVID-19 mitigation and school reopening. USDA representatives will present USDA’s most recent waivers and discuss food safety best practices for all service models for back-to-school planning. Finally, a CDC representative will provide an overview of current COVID-19 safety guidance in school foodservice and serving meals in schools. Speakers will share and discuss materials containing actionable information on best practices for COVID-19 prevention and reopening schools.

Arkansas Department of Agriculture

The Basics of Farm to School and Early Childhood Education
Thursday, June 10, 2021, 12:00 PM CT
Are you someone who likes to provide hands-on, innovative learning opportunities for your students? Join the Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Farm to School Team to learn about farm to school and farm to early childhood education opportunities related to school gardens, education, and local procurement. The webinar will dig into Arkansas Farm to School's history and teach participants how to set farm-to-school goals. This is the beginning level course and is recommended to those who is new to the concept or are looking for a refresher.

Mystery Chat Corner

On May 11, 1751, which famous Founding Father, accompanied by Dr. Thomas Bond, established the first hospital in America in Philadelphia?

A: Benjamin Franklin

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