Transitional Waivers for Summer 2022 and School Year 2022-2023
The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) Health and Nutrition Services (HNS) has received approval from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for 23 statewide waivers. These waivers are intended to provide operators flexibilities needed to continue serving children through this summer and school year 2022-2023. USDA expects that these flexibilities will only be used for the duration and extent needed, and in instances when the COVID-19 pandemic limits congregate meal service and/or imposes administrative challenges such as limiting staffing resources to ensure the safe service of meals to children. The waivers do not allow all students to eat school meals free of charge in school year 2022-2023. For next school year, in most school districts, families will need to complete an application through their school to determine if their household is eligible for free or reduced-price school meals, as was done before the pandemic. The waivers do not allow all meals to be regularly taken off site, but will equip schools and program operators to quickly respond to health-related safety issues by offering grab-and-go and/or parent-pickup of meals when needed.
Keep Kids Fed Act of 2022
The Keep Kids Fed Act of 2022 (S. 2089) was signed on June 25, 2022 to support schools and community organizations with more of the tools and financial resources they need to continue feeding children through this summer and the 2022-2023 school year. Implementation of these provisions are still awaiting guidance from USDA, which will be communicated to operators by HNS as soon as it becomes available. This new authority does not allow all students to eat school meals free of charge in school year 2022-2023. For next school year, in most school districts, families will need to complete an application through their school to determine if their household is eligible for free or reduced-price school meals, as was done before the pandemic.
The Keep Kids Fed Act of 2022 specifically makes the following changes:
- Extends USDA's authority to issue nationwide waivers that may increase Federal costs for summer meal programs through September 2022.
- Provides temporary additional reimbursements for school year 2022-2023 (SY 22-23) of:
- 40 cents per lunch served through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP);
- 15 cents per breakfast served through the School Breakfast Program (SBP); and
- 10 cents per meal or snack served in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), which includes the At-Risk Afterschool Program.
- Provides all CACFP family day care homes with the higher "Tier 1" reimbursement rate for SY 22-23.
- Allows USDA to issue limited nationwide waivers that do not increase Federal costs during SY 22-23.