Fact sheet series provides critical information for school meal provision

Aug 24, 2020

Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) partnered with Stanford Medicine Department of Pediatrics to develop a series of fact sheets to support the provision of nutritious and sustainable school meals during the COVID-19 pandemic. NPI's Christina Hecht led development of the fact sheets that are targeted to school nutrition professionals, school boards, and advocacy organizations.  The fact sheets distill the latest on the USDA Child Nutrition Program waivers that have provided flexibility for school districts, allowing them to maximize their meal service despite COVID-19 disruptions including school closures and supply chain problems. Each fact sheet in the series addressed a specific challenge: how to continue meal service during “spring break,” provision of school meals over the summer, and the transition to “back to school” school re-opening scenarios. The fact sheets also provide tips and resources from the field, aiming to encourage school districts to take full advantage of the USDA flexibilities to maintain meal quality and build student participation in the meal programs. As one example, when providing “grab & go” meals while schools are closed, districts can aid families, keep meals fresh, and reduce waste by providing “bulk foods.” By using the waivers for non-congregate feeding and meal times, a district could provide a weekly sack of foods equivalent to the amounts and nutritional requirements normally provided by single meals.  Bulk food provision can reduce the use of pre-packaged one-portion items, for example substituting a fresh melon for individual fruit cups. It can also minimize the number of trips a family needs to make to pick up school meals and it can support use of fresh and local produce. Fact sheets were designed for California districts and for a national audience; the latter were co-branded by the School Nutrition Association (SNA) and provided to SNA's 53,000 members. Template versions make it easy to pull and co-brand the information to target specific regions. The fact sheets and modifiable templates are available for download at the links below. 

"Back-to-School” Fact Sheet:

  • Back-to-School: We'll Keep Feeding Those Kids! UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute. Stanford Medicine Department of Pediatrics. School Nutrition Association. 12 August 2020. [Download (PDF)]

 

“Summer Meals” Fact Sheets:

  • Calling all Districts! USDA Summer Meals Can Keep Kids Healthy (National version). UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute. Stanford Medicine Department of Pediatrics. School Nutrition Association. 20 June 2020. [Download (PDF)] [Download Template (Word document)]
  • Calling all Districts! USDA Summer Meals Can Keep Kids Healthy (California version). UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute. Stanford Medicine Department of Pediatrics. Updated 20 June 2020. [Download (PDF)] [Download Template (Word document)]

 

"Spring Break” Fact Sheets:

  • Kids' Hunger Doesn't Take a Spring Break. While closed for COVID-19, school districts can serve meals over spring break (National version). UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute. Stanford Medicine Department of Pediatrics. 2 April 2020. [Download (PDF)] [Download Template (Word document)]
  • Kids' Hunger Doesn't Take a Spring Break. While closed for COVID-19, California districts can serve meals over spring break. UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute. Stanford Medicine Department of Pediatrics. 1 April 2020. [Download (PDF)] [Download Template (Word document)]

By Danielle L. Lee
Author - Policy Analyst | Nutrition Policy Institute