Today, the leaders of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services, Reps. James Comer (R-KY) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), unveiled a bipartisan bill to protect students’ access to school meal benefits during school closures related to COVID-19. As of March 10, 621 schools have been closed or are scheduled to close, affecting more than 430,000 students and jeopardizing access to a critical source of nutrition for students across the country.
Nearly 22 million children receive free or reduced-price lunches at their public schools.
“In the wake of rising school closures across the country aimed at preventing further spread of the coronavirus, this bill is a critical step toward ensuring that our students maintain access to the school meals they rely on for their health and well-being. I am proud to help lead this bipartisan effort to ensure that our schools and food service programs have plenty of flexibility to continue providing nutritious meals to students in need,” said Congressman James Comer (R-KY), Republican Leader of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services.
“As we continue to take necessary precautions because of the coronavirus, we must make sure that students can access nutritious meals if their schools are closed. School meals are often the only source of wholesome food for students, and this bill will make it easier for schools to continue serving the meals students rely on to stay healthy,” said Chairwoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Chair of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services.
The COVID–19 Child Nutrition Response Act will create a nationwide waiver authority, allow school officials to distribute food in any number of settings across all nutrition programs, and allow for flexibility on meal components if food supply or procurement is disrupted.
To read the COVID–19 Child Nutrition Response Act bill text, click here.