Johnny Key

Commissioner of Education

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A Division of the Arkansas Department of Education

Providing Students Meals During School Closure Due to COVID-19

COVID-19 Resource Roundup 

Posted 4/27/20

This special edition of Resource Roundup features information about GENYOUth grants to supply resources for meal distribution and delivery, a food access map and FAQs for CNU during the closure of on-site instruction for schools: COVID-19 Resource Roundup.

Child Nutrition Waivers Overview

The following document features a list of child nutrition waivers granted to the Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. These waivers give flexibility in providing meals to students during school closures related to COVID-19: Child Nutrition Waivers Overview.

Child Nutrition Unit Approved to Participate in Six USDA Waivers

As of March 26, the Child Nutrition Unit, Division of Elementary and Secondary Education has approval to participate in six USDA waivers. 
All superintendents and child nutrition directors are emailed when CNU receives approval for a waiver. Included in the email to Superintendents are step-by-step instructions on how the District can opt into the approved waivers. Districts closed due to COVID-19 must have an approved site through Seamless Summer Option (SSO) site. 
Below is the list of approved waivers:
  1. 1. Waiver to Allow Non-Congregate Feeding
  2. 2. Nationwide Waiver to Allow Meal Time Flexibility
  3. 3. Nationwide Waiver of the Activity Requirement in Afterschool Snack
  4. 4. Nationwide Waiver to Allow Meal Pattern Flexibility
  5. 5. Nationwide Waiver for Parent/Guardian Pickup for Meals
  6. 6. Nationwide Waiver of Community Eligibility Provision Deadlines
If you have questions, contact the Child Nutrition Unit at 501-324-9502.
 
On March 14, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a waiver for the Child Nutrition Unit, Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. The waiver is for non-congregate feeding in the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) due to unanticipated school closures due to the novel coronavirus. The waiver granted the following:
  • Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) granted a waiver of the congregate feeding requirement for approved SSO sponsors in good standing through June 30, 2020, or upon expiration of the federally declared public health emergency, whichever is earlier.
  • This flexibility allows for approved districts to provide meals to be taken and consumed offsite, allowing for social distancing during the novel coronavirus.
  • FNS also granted a waiver of the requirement that SSO meals be served at non-school sites during unanticipated school closures due to the novel coronavirus.
All superintendents and child nutrition directors were emailed on March 15, 2020, with step-by-step instructions. Districts closed due to COVID-19 must have an approved SSO site and complete the non-congregate feeding waiver, if needed. Contact the Child Nutrition Unit at 501-324-9502 if there are questions.

COVID-19 Guidance for Emergency Meal Service and Distribution

To learn what should food service workers and volunteers can do to prevent the spread of coronavirus, go to COVID-19 Guidance for Emergency Meal Service and Distribution.

Baylor’s Emergency Meals to You During COVID-19 Guidance

USDA has partnered with Baylor University to offer an alternative method of delivering meals to your students during these unprecedented times. The program is called Emergency Meals-to-You. This program is focused toward districts with rural families, for whom traditional meal service options are a challenge. Districts that want to apply should visit Baylor's Emergency Meals to You Guidance.(PDF)

Child Nutrition Unit (CNU) Presentation

We want to thank everyone who has been working to keep our students fed! We deeply appreciates your service, support and leadership during this time. To see the wonderful work that has been going on around the state, please view this CNU Presentation.

Food Access Map

Uplift Arkansas and the Arkansas Department of Agriculture have established a Food Access Map that provides a list of 1,400 data points featuring information on farms, local businesses, restaurants, and pantries.
 
The map also shows which schools and organizations are offering free meals while schools are closed. To access the map, go to https://www.upliftarkansas.com/resources/arkansas-covid-19-food-access-map/.
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