While CFPA applauds the announcement to extend the availability of free meals, for many the decision is too little and too late. Because of USDA's prolonged inaction, critical waivers expired and schools across California were forced to upend the way they offer meals to children. Now, with this belated decision from USDA, schools face yet another complicated change to how they operate meal programs. Schools will also have to communicate new program rules to kids and families, many of whom have already been told they wouldn't qualify for free meals once the school year started. And of course, if USDA doesn't extend the waivers beyond December, schools, kids, and families will face yet another challenging transition.
We are calling on federal leaders to stop the piecemeal decision making and authorize the program flexibilities that will allow children to access free meals for the rest of this unpredictable, unprecedented school year.