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Waivers grant Florida schools, organizations ability to keep feeding children through August

school lunches
Posted at 5:38 PM, May 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 17:45:19-04

FLORIDA (WTXL) — Schools and childcare institutions around Florida will continue to be able to feed children through August 31 even as schools stay closed for the rest of the academic year.

Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the extension of three nationwide waivers through August 31, giving child nutrition program operators, including the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), the flexibility to continue feeding children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal waivers allow FDACS to provide authority to local school districts on alternative methods of delivering nutritious meals, such as “grab and go” meals, meals available in school pick-up circles, multiple meals (such as breakfast and lunch) picked up at one time, and other methods in non-cafeteria settings, to promote CDC-recommended social distancing.

FDACS has also used its Summer BreakSpot and Seamless Summer Option non-profit and community partners to ensure Florida’s students are fed.

The announcement extends three key flexibilities that allow current operations to continue serving meals without disruption throughout the summer. The following waivers are extended through August 31, 2020:

  • Non-Congregate Feeding: Allows meals to be served to children outside of the normally required group setting to support social distancing.
  • Parent Pickup: Allows parents and/or guardians to pick up meals and bring them home to their children.
  • Mealtimes: Waiving requirements that meals be served at certain standard times to allow for grab-n-go options and allows for multiple days-worth of meals to be provided at once.

To find Summer BreakSpot Sites, Floridians can call 2-1-1, text “FLKIDSMEALS” to 211-211, or visit SummerBreakSpot.FreshFromFlorida.com to find free meals for children under 18 during the current COVID-19 school closures.