USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will extend several school lunch and nutrition program waivers already in effect into the new school year, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue announced Thursday in a release.
The announcement will give schools following the School Breakfast Program, the National School Lunch Program and the Child and Adult Care Food Program more flexibility with meal patterns, group-setting requirements, meal service times, and guardian pick-up of meals for kids.
“As the country re-opens and schools prepare for the fall, a one-size-fits-all approach to meal service simply won’t cut it,” Perdue said. He noted by extending the waivers, states, schools, and child care providers will have “the certainty they need to operate the USDA child nutrition programs in ways that make sense given their local, on-the-ground situations and ensure America’s children can count on meal service throughout the school year.”
High schools no longer need to provide students with the “offer versus serve” practice, which gave students the option to select some of the foods in a meal. The waivers also allow for meals to be served outside of group settings and standard times to “facilitate grab-and-go and other alternate service options.”
The waivers will remain in effect through June 30, 2021.
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