Last night, President Trump signed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which contains several provisions to support school nutrition programs working to serve students during coronavirus-related school closures. Notably, the bill:
- Provides the Secretary of Agriculture with the authority to grant states with child nutrition program waivers that may increase costs to the federal government. This will allow the Department to consider more options to help child nutrition providers continue serving children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Provides the Secretary authority to:1) issue nationwide waivers; 2) allow all child and adult care centers to operate as non-congregate sites; and 3) waive the meal pattern requirements if there is a disruption to the food supply
- Authorizes a Pandemic EBT program, which will provide food assistance to families with children whose schools are impacted by extended closures five days or more due to COVID-19.
SNA has been advocating for more options for school meal programstoservestudents during coronavirus-related school closures.Schools, especially non area eligible sites, are facing various regulatory and logisticalchallenges in serving needy students in their communities.SNA continues to call on USDA and Congress to grant all school sites temporary eligibility to serve all children at no charge through the Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option.
Additionally, SNA recognizes the health and safety of school nutrition professionals is of utmost importance. We are in active communication with the CDC and expect more guidance for school nutrition professionals soon. SNA will share this information from CDC as soon as it is released.