USDA approves Oklahoma’s request for free meals for all students

KNWA

The waiver is in effect until June 30, 2020, or until the federally declared public health emergency expires, according to the release.

FILE – In this Thursday, May 4, 2017 file photo, a third-grader punches in her student identification to pay for a meal at Gonzales Community School in Santa Fe, N.M. The Trump administration is proposing a rollback of nutrition guidelines for federal school meals programs that had been promoted by Michelle Obama as part of her campaign to combat child obesity. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee, file)

OKLAHOMA (KNWA/KFTA) — Oklahoma students statewide will soon be able to access two free meals a day following a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) waiver, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister announced on Monday, March 30.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) applied for the waiver to remove the requirement that school feeding sites must be located in high-need areas under the Emergency School Closure provisions of the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a press release from the OSDE states.

It was approved over the weekend — the waiver grants site-area eligibility to 31 states, including Oklahoma.

Prior to the waiver, districts could provide free meals only if 50% of students at a school met eligibility for the free and reduced-price lunch program, the release states.

Hofmeister said the waiver is a way for districts to get meals to students in the wake of the global pandemic.

“Amid such uncertainty and instability, we should not be asking our families or schools to worry over needless red tape,” she said. “This waiver means that, following a simple application, any district in the state can establish feeding sites for up to two free meals a day for every student who needs one.”

The waiver is in effect until June 30, 2020, or until the federally declared public health emergency expires, according to the release.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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