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SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah State Board of Education (USBE) is seeking four waivers from the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to assist local schools and participating child care centers in serving school lunch in the event of school closures should the novel coronavirus spread widely in the state.
If approved, the waivers would:
- Allow USBE to approve schools implementing grab and go meal or other alternative service that would limit interaction and proximity between students
- Allow schools in areas that don’t meet eligibility requirements of a high need school to cover meals provided to students because of closures due to coronavirus.
- Allow schools, with USBE approval, to permit school meals to use alternatives for meal components that are not available because of shortages.
- Allow a school to use an alternative site to provide school lunches.
- “We hope we won’t have to use any of these waivers,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson. “But it is our obligation to make sure we can continue to serve our students should there be a coronavirus outbreak that forces school closures in Utah. These tools will give school districts, charter schools, and participating private schools and childcare centers, the flexibility they need.”
USDA welcomes public comment on Utah’s waiver request. Once approved, USBE will advise district and charter schools of the new flexibility.