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Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner
SNA Applauds USDA Waiver Announcement
Students to benefit from free school meals next school year
ARLINGTON, VA – The non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA) commended the Biden Administration today for extending several COVID-19 waivers to ensure students can continue to safely receive free school meals through the 2021/22 School Year. SNA members had called for waiver extensions to provide safe, equal access to healthy school meals and address continued pandemic meal service challenges.
“These waiver extensions will ensure hungry students can receive the meals they need to succeed next school year,” said SNA President Reggie Ross, SNS. “School nutrition staff can focus on safely serving students without having to worry about meal applications or collecting payments. Families struggling to make ends meet will know their children are nourished and ready to learn.”
Under the waivers, school nutrition programs can maintain grab-and-go meal options and pandemic safety measures to protect students and staff. Schools can continue curbside meal pick-up services for distance learners as needed. School nutrition staff can also minimize touch points and promote social distancing in the cafeteria, because they will not need to verify student eligibility for free meals.
School nutrition directors, facing ongoing supply chain disruptions and higher pandemic costs, needed certainty on the availability of the waivers to place orders and plan menus for the year ahead. The waivers also allow schools to continue receiving the higher per-meal reimbursement rate offered under the Summer Food Service Program. “The School Nutrition Association appreciates USDA’s ongoing efforts to address persistent challenges school nutrition professionals have encountered as they work to serve students and families throughout the pandemic,” said Ross.
About School Nutrition Association:
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing 50,000 school nutrition professionals across the country. Founded in 1946, SNA and its members are dedicated to making healthy school meals and nutrition education available to all students. For more information on school meals, visit www.SchoolNutrition.org/SchoolMeals.