Leveraging COVID Relief Funds to Mitigate the Impact of Child Nutrition Waiver Expirations

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This resource explores how states, localities, and schools can leverage COVID relief funds like State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF), Emergency Elementary and Secondary Education Relief (ESSER) Funds, and Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Funds to mitigate the impact of nationwide child nutrition waiver expirations for Summer 2022 and School Year 2022-2023. 

Overview

This resource was created in spring 2022, when the waiver flexibilities that have allowed schools and other child nutrition programs to safely provide meals and ensure access to needed nutrition throughout the pandemic were soon to expire and Congress had not yet not renewed the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA's) authority to issue or extend nationwide waivers. This resource highlighted ways that states, localities, and schools can leverage COVID relief funds like State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF), Emergency Elementary and Secondary Education Relief (ESSER) Funds, and Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Funds to mitigate the impact of nationwide child nutrition waiver expirations for Summer 2022 and School Year 2022-2023. 

While the acute need has passed -- Congress extended USDA's waiver authority on a limited basis in June 2022, and most schools and other organizations have now shifted back to pre-pandemic operations -- the ideas presented in this resource may still be relevant to entities with unobligated COVID relief funds. Additional funds to support school and other child nutrition programs could be helpful at a time of high prices due to inflation, ongoing staffing challenges, and equipment needs due to wear-and-tear during pandemic relief operations. 

For a two-page overview of this resource, see https://bestpractices.nokidhungry.org/resource/supporting-child-nutrition-programs-covid-relief-funds.