Saturday, March 28, 2020

After uproar, USDA says parents can pick up school meals without kids present

The federal government is waiving a policy that required students to come in-person to pick up free meals during school closures, after legislators and advocates said the rule was imperiling the health of children with compromised immune systems.
New guidance from the U.S. Agriculture Department, issued this week, allows school districts to distribute meals “to a parent or guardian to take home to their children,” according to a copy obtained by The Washington Post.
The waiver takes effect immediately and applies to all states that elect to use it. Schools will need to develop strategies to ensure the meal distribution plan retains “integrity,” Angela M. Kline, director of policy and program development for the USDA’s Child Nutrition Programs, wrote in the waiver.
Although the USDA envisioned “operators providing meals directly to children,” Kline wrote, the agency “recognizes that in this public health emergency, continuing to require children to come to the meal site to pick up meals may not be practical and in keeping with the goal of providing meals while also taking appropriate safety measures.”..

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