Tuesday Morning - September 1, 2020

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

COVID-19 Policy Updates

USDA Extends SFSP/SSO Waivers
Q&A on Child Nutrition Programs for the 2020-21 School Year
SNA Hosts Call with USDA Deputy Undersecretary
Ranking Member Stabenow and Chairman Scott Send Letter to USDA
Rep. Foxx Sent Bipartisan Letter to USDA to Extend all School Meal Waivers

Federal Policy

Federal Register: FNS Information Collection Needs due to COVID-19

State Snapshots

California Proposes Funding to Reimburse Costs of School Meals During COVID-19
New Jersey Introduces Bill Urging USDA to Provide Meals During School Closures
Virginia Creates Bill Requiring School Districts to Participate in CEP

Mark Your Calendars

Upcoming SNA Webinar

Mystery Chat Corner

COVID-19 Policy Updates

USDA Extends SFSP/SSO Waivers

On August 31, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) extended all Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) waivers through as late as December 31, 2020, dependent on available funding. The move allows schools to offer meals to all children at no charge this fall to minimize the challenges of meal service during a pandemic. SNA is continuing to advocate for these waivers to be extended through School Year 2020-21. The announcement came less than one week after SNA's Board of Directors hosted a call with USDA officials to share urgent feedback from schools that have seen dramatic declines in student lunch participation in the opening weeks of school, leaving meal programs in dire financial circumstances. Read more in SNA’s press release.

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Q&A on Child Nutrition Programs for the 2020-21 School Year

On August 21, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) released "Questions and Answers for the Child Nutrition Program During School Year 2020-2021." This resource includes questions and answers intended to provide clarification on inquiries related to Child Nutrition Programs operations for SY 2020-21. This memorandum applies to state agencies and school districts that operate the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

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SNA Hosts Call with USDA Deputy Undersecretary

Last week, when USDA declined to extend Summer Food Service Program/Seamless Summer Option (SFSP/SSO) waivers through next school year, SNA reached out to USDA to schedule an urgent conference call with SNA’s Board of Directors and USDA Deputy Undersecretary of Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, Brandon Lipps, to discuss the dire financial status of school meal programs. SNA reiterated its request that USDA allow schools to continue serving meals via SFSP/SSO and extend all waivers. During the call on August 25th the Board shared specific details on the declines in school meal participation, the devastating financial impacts on school meal programs, and concern about the sustainability of the programs and their ability to continue to serve meals to hungry students. Lipps expressed appreciation for SNA’s forthright communication and said that USDA continues to look at ways to find additional support for school meal programs going forward. SNA will continue discussions with USDA in follow up to this call and keep members advised on ongoing developments.

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Ranking Member Stabenow and Chairman Scott Send Letter to USDA

On August 26, 2020, Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (VA-03) sent a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. This letter requests that USDA reverse its decision not to extend all school meal waivers and urges USDA to take action and use its full authority to provide healthy meals to students for the duration of the school year. The letter states, "USDA's refusal to extend all school meal waivers is inconsistent and baffling during this national crisis, especially considering that as many as 17 million children did not get enough to eat this summer and there are no signs of the situation improving once the summer is over." Read the full press release.

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Rep. Foxx Sent Bipartisan Letter to USDA to Extend all School Meal Waivers

On August 26, 2020, House Education and Labor Committee ranking member Virginia Foxx (NC-5), along with two dozen other Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee, sent a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. This letter asks USDA to reconsider its decision not to allow broad access to free meals to all families this school year. Read the full letter.


School Nutrition staff at Fresno Unified School District in Fresno, Calif., managed to serve 18,000 to 21,000 to-go meals a day during the summer.

Federal Policy

Federal Register: FNS Information Collection Needs Due to COVID-19

On August 27, 2020, the USDA FNS issued the Federal Register notice, "Agency Information Collection Activities: FNS Information Collection Needs due to COVID-19.” Since the start of COVID-19, FNS has been implementing several waivers, and program adjustments to ensure Americans can access nutrition assistance. This notice invites the general public and other public agencies to comment on this proposed information collection. Comments on this notice are due October 26, 2020.

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State Snapshots

California Proposes Funding to Reimburse Costs of School Meals During COVID-19

AB 1865 or SB 820 appropriates $80,000,000 from the General Fund to the California Department of Education to reimburse local educational agencies for costs relating to providing school meals from March to August 2020.

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New Jersey Introduces Bill Urging USDA to Provide Meals During School Closures

A 4575 or S 2849 directs the New Jersey Department of Agriculture to request necessary waivers from the USDA to provide food and meals during school closures due to COVID-19.

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Virginia Creates Bill Requiring School Districts to Participate in CEP

HB 5113 requires each school board that governs a local school division with a minimum identified student percentage of 40% in the prior school year shall apply to the USDA FNS to participate in Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).

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Mark Your Calendars

Upcoming SNA Webinar

Register for this week’s Back to School Webinar and hear practical advice on how to help students cope with the current COVID-19 pandemic. If you missed a particular webinar, catch up with SNA’s on-demand webinars.

Taking Care of Yourself and Your Students: Coping with Pandemic Crisis & Loss
Thursday, September 16, 2020, 3:00 PM ET
As part of SNA’s “Back to School Webinar Series,” this webinar will provide practical advice on how school nutrition professionals can help students cope with the current COVID-19 pandemic and support grieving students, as well as some guidance related to professional self-care. There will be time available for questions and discussion. This webinar is presented by the Director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement located at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

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Mystery Chat Corner

On September 1, 1952, Life magazine published what last major work of fiction by Ernest Hemingway?
A: Old Man and the Sea

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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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