The USDA has extended its summer meal program waivers through December 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The extension of the Summer Food Service Program and National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option will allow schools to waive meal pattern requirements and to serve meals to all students at no charge. Meals will also be able to be served outside of required group settings and mealtimes. In addition, parents or guardians can pick up meals for their children.
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue made the announcement on Monday morning but warned that the waivers could be pulled back earlier if they don’t receive enough funding from Congress.
“The money is tight, and as the meal count for those summer months comes in, we may need to make revising decisions based on that data. Hopefully not, but we have to be conservative in matching the money with the meals,” he said. “If we don’t get additional funds from Congress and they’re in discussion about that now, we may need to pull those waivers back; but at this time, we are confident we can afford to provide waiver flexibility until Dec. 31.”