WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, and U.S. Representatives Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Jamie Raskin, and David Trone (all D-Md.) wrote to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue urging the extension of school nutrition waivers for the 2020-2021 school year to ensure children have access to healthy meals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the upcoming school year, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced schools to transition to online or partially in-person learning. This transition means that low-income students who rely on school meals for nutritious foods can no longer access the meals they need to grow and thrive. 

The letter specifically requests the extension of the following USDA waiver programs: Area Eligibility Waiver, Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) Waivers, Afterschool Activity Waiver, Unexpected School Closures Waiver, and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Parent Pick-Up Waiver. 

“Students in Maryland and across the country are going hungry during this pandemic, and we need to take swift action to address this,” the lawmakers wrote Friday. “Extending these waivers will help ensure that all children and families can access the nutritious food they need to stay healthy despite the uncertainty of the 2020-2021 school year.”

A copy of the letter can be found here