07/23/2021 | News release | Archived content
The past eighteen months have not been a picnic for households juggling work, home-schooling, life schedules and family time.
The return to in-person learning will give a semblance of routine and perhaps a promise to a more life-balance for teachers, parents and students.
During the pandemic, Center for Disease Control (CDC) directives have helped influence school safety decisions. Recent updates recommend removing prevention strategies one at a time. With vaccines only available for people ages 12and older, a large proportion of school-age children remain unprotected from COVID.
School districts are working hard to flush out the details of what the school year will look like.
Every state, every county is paying attention to how new policies for in-person school or a hybrid program means will keep everyone safe from COVID. Some conflicts between jurisdictions and localities are yet to be resolved.
Meanwhile, kids still need to eat. Where they eat, how they eat and what they eat are the fine points industry entities are interested in knowing. A congregate setting may not be available for this school year. Likely, self-serve salad bars are off the proverbial table. 'Grab and Go', pre-packaged breakfasts or lunches will be preferred.
After schools shut down in March 2020, many transformed their parking lots into pickup sites for meals.
Federal funding allowed schools to offer free meals to anyone without any application or income qualification. The massive turnouts for free meals highlighted how much families relied on these no cost meals. It wasn't just a solution for low-income families. As it turns out, everyone benefits.
At a time when California seems flush on cash, a coalition called 'School Meals for All' has seized the moment to highlight and fund proper nutrition for every K-12California student. From the state budget, $54million will be allocated for the coming school year. This is supplemented by funding from the Biden administration through June 2022. After that, California will spend $650million annually.
With rising costs of gas, groceries and everything else in California, a bit of relief by way of picking up the tab for students to be fed lifts a burden. The three dollars a day for a school meal may not sound like a lot. A family of three kids will save forty five dollars a week and $2340annually. That's a relief.
One more nice thing about these fully funded meals is that the stigma for accepting a free breakfast or lunch can finally disappear. Rather than skipping a meal due to public shame, every student can take part in meal service. Lunch is a universal need. Let's get back to school and back to learning.