The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued new waivers to help school nutrition professionals provide more meals to students in the safest manner possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Waivers are now available for meal patterns, after-school activities, the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) and parent meal pickup. The waivers apply to the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, and Summer Food Service Program. School districts looking to take advantage of any of these waivers must first seek approval from their state agency.
Here is a brief overview of what each of the waivers entails.
Districts in states that have invoked this waiver will now no longer be required to offer some type of educational or enrichment activity to coincide with their after-school meals.
This waiver gives states that are approved for noncongregate feeding permission to allow parents and guardians to pick up meals for their children without the children present. States will have to have a plan in place to ensures that only eligible children are receiving the meals and that duplicate meals are not being distributed.
This waiver relaxes meal pattern requirements during the pandemic.
This waiver extends the annual deadlines required to apply for the CEP.