Tuesday Morning - September 21, 2021

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues from SNA

Table of Contents

COVID-19 Policy Updates

USDA Issues New Waiver Addressing Supply Chain Challenges
SNA Signs onto Allied Letter Urging USDA to Grant and Extend SFSP Waivers  

Federal Policy

School MEALS Act of 2021
The Small Farm to School Act
Federal Register: Comment Request for SNMCS-II
Federal Register: Team Nutrition Database
Biden Administration Appoints Cindy Long as Administrator for FNS

State Snapshots

Pennsylvania Introduces Legislation to Address School Meal Debt and Require CEP

Mark Your Calendars

Upcoming SNA Webinars
Congressional Management Foundation
Team Nutrition

Mystery Chat Corner

COVID-19 Policy Updates

USDA Issues New Waiver Addressing Supply Chain Challenges

In response to concerns raised by SNA, USDA on September 15 issued a new waiver to prevent school meal programs that are struggling with supply chain challenges from being financially penalized if shortages prevent them from meeting certain federal regulatory requirements for school meals. This summer, SNA alerted the Department to worsening supply chain disruptions and, in a  letter to Secretary Tom Vilsack, issued recommendations, including increased regulatory flexibility, to help ease challenges for school nutrition programs.  In a press release, SNA praised USDA for its quick action, with President Beth Wallace, MBA, SNS, saying, “SNA looks forward to continuing our work with USDA and Congress to maintain critical supports for school meal programs and the students we serve.”

SNA Signs onto Allied Letter Urging USDA to Grant and Extend SFSP Waivers

On September 4, SNA, along with 530 other national, state and local organizations, including Hunger Free America and the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO), signed onto an allied letter by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack. This letter urges USDA to use its current authority to offer additional waivers and flexibilities to help all operators cope with the extreme ongoing supply chain challenges. Read the full letter

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covid19-image

The foodservice team at Cazenovia Central School District in New York just wrapped up their first week back, serving students fresh school meals in person!

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Federal Policy

School MEALS Act of 2021

On September 10, Representative Jahana Hayes (D-CT) introduced H.R. 5223, the School Modernization and Efficient Access to Lunches for Students (MEALS) Act of 2021. This legislation would make several improvements to direct certification to increase students’ access to free school meals without the need for household applications, which tend to create unnecessary administrative paperwork for schools. Read Rep. Hayes's full press release.

The Small Farm to School Act

On September 14, Representatives Antonio Delgado (D-NY) and Bill Huizenga (R-MI) reintroduced the bipartisan bill, H.R. 5249, the Small Farm to School Act. This legislation is designed to incentivize partnerships between small farms and local schools, provide students with fresh, locally grown produce, and build a more resilient local food system across the country. Read Rep. Delgado's press release or watch the announcement press conference.

Federal Register: Comment Request for SNMCS-II

On September 14, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published the Federal Register notice, "Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request-School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study-II." This comment collection is for the School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study-II (SNMCS-II), which provides a comprehensive picture of the NSLP and SBP and critical information about the nutritional quality, cost and acceptability of school meals over the past decade. All comments are due November 15, 2021.

Federal Register: Team Nutrition Database

On September 16, FNS published the Federal Register notice, “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request.” This notice is an information collection for FNS’s Team Nutrition Initiative, a program that supports national efforts to promote lifelong healthy food choices and physical activity by improving the practices of Child Nutrition Programs. This collection allows program operators to keep up to date with new resources developed under this initiative and ensures those schools participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) can build and maintain a more robust network. All comments are due October 18, 2021.

Biden Administration Appoints Cindy Long as Administrator for FNS

Last week, USDA announced new key administrative staff, including Cindy Long, to serve as the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Administrator. Long has served this year as acting Administrator for FNS and has an extensive background and experience working with the agency, including previously serving as Deputy Administrator for Child Nutrition Programs (CNP) under the Obama Administration. During her time as Deputy Administrator, she led the implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA), the most significant restructuring legislation geared to improve school nutrition programs in decades. Read USDA's full announcement.

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State Snapshots

Pennsylvania Introduces Legislation to Address School Meal Debt and Require CEP

SB 298 encourages all school districts to adopt a formal school meal debt policy and requires any school with 60% or more Identified Student Percentages (ISP) to implement the Federal Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) or Provision 2 to provide universal free school breakfast and lunch to all students.

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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.

Get WILD with Global Flavors
3 p.m. EST Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Increasing meal participation is critical for all programs. One of the driving questions many operators have is how to keep their menus relevant to the new generations of students while embracing the diversity of their students. Thanks to the adventurous palates of today's parents, your students have been exposed to, and come to love, many more dishes with global flavors than previous generations. Join us for an exciting panel discussion where we will show you how you can easily incorporate international flavors in your menu while keeping your food costs down, utilizing USDA Foods and basic pantry staples you likely have on hand.

Q&A with the USDA Team
3 p.m. EST, Thursday, September 30, 2021
Join SNA and the USDA team as they answer frequently asked questions to some of the key challenges operators are facing. From procurement strategies due to supply chain disruptions to guidance for feeding virtual learners, you don’t want to miss this!

Congressional Management Foundation

Using Research to Connect the Dots Between You and Your Lawmaker 
3 p.m. EST Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Despite the narrative presented by Hollywood screenwriters and the mainstream media, lawmakers are human, too. Before being elected, these politicians have careers, attend school, volunteer and achieve college degrees. This presentation will explore some strategies for using research to help connect the dots between the issues you're advocating for and those on your member's current agenda.

Team Nutrition

CACFP Halftime: Thirty on Thursdays "Serving Snacks in the CACFP”  
3 p.m. EST Wednesday, December 1, 2021
The Food and Nutrition Service's (FNS) Team Nutrition presents "Serving Snacks in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)." This webinar will demonstrate to CACFP operators how to plan and prepare snacks for children and adults in their care. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions to the presenters and check their knowledge through interactive polling questions.

Mystery Chat Corner

On September 21, 1937, which famous author finally published "The Hobbit" through publisher George Allen and the Unwin Publishing Company in London, England?

A: J.R.R. Tolkien

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Contact Us

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

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

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SNA State Associations

The School Nutrition Association has a presence in every state across the country. View links to many of the state associations to find out more about what SNA is doing nationwide. 

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