School meal waivers expire in 9 days. After axing them, Congress may try to save them
A bipartisan group of four lawmakers on Tuesday announced a bill that would extend the school meal waivers that have been a lifeline for schools and families during the pandemic.
The waivers were originally created as a part of pandemic relief at the start of 2020. They allow the Agriculture Department to waive various requirements that govern how schools can serve meals and who can get them. The waivers also increased the reimbursement rates for school food programs.
Lawmakers failed to extend those waivers one more academic school year when they were excluded from the budget signed by President Joe Biden in March, resulting in a scramble for administrators and parents nationwide. School leaders and parents had weeks to prepare for summer meal programs without the waivers that allowed more summer meal sites. They also had to get up to speed on how fall meals would function with the return of free and reduced-price meal applications and continued supply chain challenges that meant some foods were not always available.