Tuesday Morning - May 17, 2022

1 big thing—Update: School nutrition program waiver extensions

Lunch Photos

What’s new: School nutrition program advocates continue to pursue critical waiver extensions as Congress deliberates viable legislative vehicles and options for funding.  

Big picture: Last week, forty-eight School Nutrition Association state affiliates joined together to send a letter to Congress urging strong support for the Support Kids Not Red Tape Act (S. 3979) and the Keeping School Meals Flexible Act (H.R. 6613), bills that would extend critical pandemic-related school nutrition waivers. 

💭In a recent Senate Agriculture Appropriations hearing, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack stated “Make no mistake about it, the failure to have these waivers is going to create a lot of chaos in schools across the United States… We'll take a look at any additional capacity we have with resources… but schools are going to have a very difficult time, make no mistake about it.” 

What’s next: Send your legislators an email urging them to provide USDA authority to extend these necessary waivers. Send a tweet. Call their office. Persistent and open communication with your elected officials will help to keep up the momentum on this critical effort. 

2. USDA FNS provides two new state-by-state waivers

Lunch Photos

What’s new: During a USDA webinar for state agencies on May 12, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) released two new state-by-state waiver options to assist states and SFAs in overcoming challenges resulting from COVID-19. 

Go deeper: FNS expects program operators will only use these flexibilities for the duration and extent that they are needed.  

  • Waiver 25: Paid Lunch Equity [42 U.S.C. 1760(p)(2) and 7 CFR 210.14(e)] (July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023)  

  • Waiver 26: Use of Prior Year Eligibility Determinations for School Year 2022-2023 Carryover [42 U.S.C. 1758(b)(C) and 7 CFR 245.6(c)(2)] (July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023) 

What’s next: USDA FNS has provided an updated 12(l) waiver checklist. States that have already submitted a request using the old checklist are asked to resubmit using the updated version. 

3. New USDA Area Eligibility Guidance for Summer 2022 and SY2022-23

Summer

What’s new: The USDA has issued a memorandum providing guidance regarding establishment of area eligibility for State agencies administering, and local organizations operating, the National School Lunch Program’s Seamless Summer Option and afterschool snack program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program at-risk afterschool and family day care homes and the Summer Food Service Program as they transition from COVID-19 nationwide waivers.

  • This guidance applies to Child Nutrition Programs for summer 2022 and SY2022-23.  

Go deeper: The USDA has proposed two data options that may be used to qualify as area eligible for summer 2022 and SY2022-23: 

  1. SY2019-20 Free and Reduced-Price Application Data 

  2. Allow All Schools to Use Community Eligibility Provision Data 

Schools operating CEP must continue to determine area eligibility for its attendance area using its approved school-level ISP. Schools that operated SSO during SY2021-22 and are not participating in CEP may use the same guidance as CEP schools to determine area eligibility for a school’s attendance area.  

USDA has provided an updated 12(l) waiver checklist including these two new flexibilities. 

4. SNA comments on Dietary Guidelines

SNA logo

What’s new: SNA submitted comments in response to the Request for Comments on Scientific Questions to Be Examined to Support the Development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2025–2030Questions notice in the Federal Register on April 15, 2022. Four topic areas were addressed: 

  • Specific Dietary Pattern Components: SNA recommends meal patterns for child nutrition programs should be streamlined and simplified to be consistent between the various programs. 

  • Food Pattern Modeling: SNA proposes that food patterns for schools should consider the preferences, norms and balance them with nutrition throughout the day as well as the lifecycle.  

  • Data Analysis: SNA recommends including a research question regarding the required amount of sodium in a person’s diet throughout one’s lifespan  

  • Beverage: SNA recommends, as a good lifestyle practice, that beverages should limit sugar intake and promote nutrient-dense beverages that support growth and development. 

 

5. Comment request: Food Program Reporting System

USDA Request for Comment

What’s new: The USDA has published a comment request regarding the Food Program Reporting System. 

Go deeper: FNS is consolidating reporting requirements for the Food Programs Reporting System. This initiative will allow State agencies and Indian Tribal Organization (ITO) agencies to comply with all reporting requirements for various programs in one portal. 

What's next: Comments should be submitted by June 8, 2022 at the following website: Information Collection Review ( reginfo.gov ) 

6. State legislative update

Map of US

🔎Let’s look at the latest state updates…

New Jersey Assemblywomen Shama A. Haider and Lisa Swain introduced legislation to require public schools to comply with the school lunch and breakfast nutrition standards adopted by USDA in 2012.

  • This bill has been referred to the Assembly Agriculture and Food Security Committee.

  • An identical bill has been introduced in the Senate and it was referred to the Education Committee. 

New York State Senator Michelle Hinchey introduced a measure that would require public school districts, charter schools and non-public schools that participate in the national school lunch program or school breakfast program to serve breakfast and lunch at no cost to students.

  • This bill has been referred to the Committee on Education. 

 New Jersey Assemblymembers Sadaf Jaffer and Herb Conaway Jr. introduced a resolution to urge schools to implement share tables to reduce food waste and help alleviate food insecurity.

  • This measure was referred to the Agriculture and Food Security Committee.

  • An identical bill was introduced by Senator Bob Smith and it, as well, has been referred to the Environment and Energy Committee.  

New Jersey State Senator James Beach introduced legislation to require the Department of Agriculture to develop and administer a two-year school breakfast kiosk pilot program in three school districts selected by the Commissioner of Education, with the intention of increasing participation of students in school breakfast through increased accessibility to breakfast items in the school.

  • This bill has been referred to the Education Committee.

  • Assemblywomen Pamela Lampitt and Angela McKnighthave introduced an identical bill that has been referred to the Education Committee. 

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