The U.S. House of Representatives passed a stopgap funding bill Tuesday evening that includes funding to support school nutrition programs.
The legislation will add nearly $8 billion in nutrition assistance, allowing the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to extend all Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) waivers through the end of the school year.
The SFSP and SSO waivers, which are currently set to expire at the end of December, allow schools to forgo meal pattern requirements and to serve meals to all children 18 and under at no charge. Meals are also able to be served outside of required group settings and mealtimes. In addition, parents or guardians can pick up meals for their children.
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) applauded the bill, noting that the waiver extensions will help make sure that all children will have food access for the entire 2020-21 school year.
“With these waiver extensions, no family will have to worry about their child going without a healthy school meal, whether they're learning in school or at home,” SNA President Reggie Ross said in a statement. "Schools and families will not be unnecessarily burdened with paperwork and nutrition staff can focus on safely preparing and serving meals through the pandemic.
To go into effect, the legislation will still need to be approved by the Senate and signed by President Trump.