USDA Temporarily Extends COVID-19 Summer Nutrition Waivers

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USDA Temporarily Extends COVID-19 Summer Nutrition Waivers

On Thursday, August 20, 2020, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) issued the following nationwide waiver extensions.
  1. Nationwide Waiver to Allow Non-congregate Feeding in the Summer Food Service Program – EXTENSION 3
  2. Nationwide Waiver to Allow Meal Pattern Flexibility in the Summer Food Service Program – EXTENSION 6
  3. Nationwide Waiver to Extend Area Eligibility Waivers – EXTENSION
  4. Nationwide Waiver to Allow Parents and Guardians to Pick Up Meals for Children – EXTENSION 3
Specifically, these extensions will enable districts that have not begun the 20-21 school year to continue their summer food service operations through September 30, 2020, or for the duration of summer operations, whichever is earlier. While USDA did extend the nationwide non-congregate, meal service time, meal pattern flexibility, and parent pick-up waivers for the duration of the 2020-21 school year, these waivers did not apply to districts that will begin their calendar year in early to late September, and as such, are able to run the Summer Food Service and Seamless Summer Option Programs until that time.
The good news here is USDA's measure will provide school districts that haven't begun the calendar year with an additional month to operate their current summer programs, which because of Area Eligibility will enable schools to feed all students presenting at sites in need. The bad news is that these extensions provide no relief to districts running hybrid or remote online learning models. 
Looking ahead, AASA will continue pressing the Department and the Hill for a permanent fix to this issue. It's clear we're facing an uphill battle on extending the waivers, so stay tuned to see how you can get involved. 

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