USDA Approves 2 Waivers Ensuring Students Can Access Meals If Schools Close Due To Coronavirus
OKLAHOMA CITY - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved two waivers requested by the Oklahoma State Department of Education allowing meal service to continue during possible school closures due to COVID-19, coronavirus.
OSDE Officials said meals will be available at no cost to low-income children. The meals are not required to be served in a group setting to possible exposure to COVID-19.
“When schools close, our first concern is for the safety and well-being of our children. We know that some kids will not have access to nutritious meals if they do not attend school,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. “The approval of these waivers provides flexibility so Oklahoma children get wholesome meals while safeguarding their health.”
The approval comes after the OSDE's Child Nutrition Program applied for four waivers from the USDA Food and Nutrition Services.
The first waiver will allow for a "grab and go" meal service to limit interaction and proximity. The second waiver eliminates the requirement that school meal operations must be served at a school site during unanticipated school closures.
The waivers are good through June 30 or until the federally declared public health emergency expires.
OSDE officials said the waivers only apply to school's participating in the National School Lunch Program's Seamless Summer Option or the Summer Food Service Program.
For more information, contact OSDE's Child Nutrition Program at 405-521-3327.