• School Closures During COVID-19: Opportunities for Innovation in Meal Service

      Kinsey, Eliza W; Hecht, Amelie A; Dunn, Caroline Glagola; Levi, Ronli; Read, Margaret A; Smith, Courtney; Niesen, Pamela; Seligman, Hilary K; Hager, Erin R (American Public Health Association, 2020-09-17)
      In 2019, the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program served approximately 15 million breakfasts and 30 million lunches daily at low or no cost to students.Access to these meals has been disrupted as a result of long-term school closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, potentially decreasing both student nutrient intake and household food security. By the week of March 23, 2020, all states had mandated statewide school closures as a result of the pandemic, and the number of weekly missed breakfasts and lunches served at school reached a peak of approximately 169.6 million; this weekly estimate remained steady through the final week of April.We highlight strategies that states and school districts are using to replace these missed meals, including a case study from Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture waivers that, in many cases, have introduced flexibility to allow for innovation. Also, we explore lessons learned from the pandemic with the goal of informing and strengthening future school nutrition policies for out-of-school time, such as over the summer.