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Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators

News Briefs | FYI

May 17, 2021
Meal flexibilities extended through June 2022

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a broad range of flexibilities to allow school meal programs and childcare institutions across the country to return to serving healthy meals in fall 2021 as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to reopen schools safely. Several meal service flexibilities that enable social distancing are now extended through June 30, 2022. The waivers continue the administration’s commitment to provide safe, healthy meals free of charge to children as the pandemic continues to threaten the food and nutrition security of our most vulnerable.
“Students’ success in the classroom goes hand in hand with their ability to access basic needs like healthy and nutritious meals,” said Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, in an April 20 news release.
Schools nationwide will be allowed to serve meals through USDA’s National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option, which is typically only available during the summer months. This option maintains the nutrition standards of the standard school meal programs, including a strong emphasis on providing fruits and vegetables, fluid milk, whole grains and sensible calorie levels, while allowing schools to serve free meals to all children.
In addition, schools that choose this option will receive higher-than-normal meal reimbursements for every meal they serve, which will support them in serving the most nutritious meals possible while managing increased costs associated with pandemic-related operational and supply chain challenges. This option also affords schools the financial flexibility to further customize their meal service design to fit their local needs.
USDA will continue to offer targeted meal pattern flexibility and technical assistance as needed. In addition, schools and both child and adult care institutions can continue providing breakfasts, lunches and after school snacks in non-group settings at flexible meal times.
Parents or guardians can also pick up meals for their children when programs are not operating normally, all while maintaining social distancing consistent with federal recommendations.
Recently, the Department of Education released Volume 2 of its “Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs,” which includes specific strategies for underserved students such as students experiencing homelessness and English learners, and how federal funding can support these efforts.
For a complete list of the waiver actions, visit the COVID Response page at www.fns.usda.gov/coronavirus.
FYI
Membership renewal season has arrived
Are your membership dues paid by the district? Do you pay out of pocket in one lump sum or over three installments? If you said yes to any of these, you can expect to receive a renewal invoice at the end of May. If you do not get one, please contact Member Services at memberservices@acsa.org to receive a copy. All membership renewal forms are due July 1 for the new school year. If you are paying dues via payroll deduction, this does not affect you unless you are moving districts next school year. For questions, please e-mail memberservices@acsa.org.
Submit articles on ‘What’s Next for Schools’
ACSA’s Leadership magazine wants to know “What’s Next for Schools?” Share your research and insights on how we should be welcoming students back in the fall, including how to address achievement gaps and trauma in our students. Deadline is June 14. Find submission details at www.acsa.org/leadershipmagazine.
Garden Tour videos available to educators
An estimated 30,000 students tuned in during the first-ever Coast-to-Coast Virtual School Gardens Tour in April, which celebrated how school gardens bring learning to life. Dozens of schools, students and nonprofit partners were able to share how school gardens are directly benefiting their communities. Educators can access videos and educational activities they can share with students in their own school garden at growingschoolgardens.org/viewer-guide/. Sign the Digital Guest Book (located under the tour video on our home page) to express interest in being featured on an upcoming coast-to-coast tour.
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