On Jan. 12, the U.S. Department of Education updated its fact sheet on its waivers related to certain meal programs.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service issued a suite of nationwide waivers that are effective through June 30, 2022, to support access to nutritious meals while minimizing potential exposure to COVID-19 during school year 2021-2022. The USDA waivers that are in effect until the end of June 2022 relate to the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program and the Seamless Summer Option. In addition, the USDA administers the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Component of the Child and Adult Care Food Program, for which USDA also issued waivers. A description of the USDA waivers is available here.
As a result of COVID-19 related complications, many local educational agencies that chose to participate in the USDA waivers will not have National School Lunch Program data, which ordinarily would have been collected through household applications during school years (SYs) 2020-2021 and 2021- 2022. The updated fact sheet outlines options for state educational agencies and LEAs to successfully implement their ESEA programs during school years 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 when complete NSLP data from school years 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 are not available due to participation in USDA waivers.