Letter to The Hon. Sonny Perdue, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture - Murphy Joins Republican Members to Send Letter Urging USDA to Give Schools Flexibility Needed to Feed Students During COVID


Dear Secretary Perdue:

As the 2020-2021 school year gets underway, schools may be struggling to implement new
methods of teaching while simultaneously figuring out how to provide meals to vulnerable
students. During these challenging times, we urge you to review the child nutrition program
flexibilities allowed under the law and implement those flexibilities as quickly as possible.

We know the flexibilities utilized at the beginning of the pandemic helped schools provide meals
to families in need. With a new school year starting amid the pandemic, it is critical that schools
have the flexibility they need to continue providing meals to their students. This flexibility is
particularly important since many school districts have announced a variety of plans, including
modified in-person classes and meal services, hybrid education, and in some cases continued
remote learning. Given the broad range of plans, we should ensure the federal programs that help
feed students are flexible, easy to operate, and free of unnecessary burdens.

Therefore, we ask USDA to review the program flexibilities currently available within the child
nutrition programs and expeditiously implement much needed flexibilities. Additionally, these
program flexibilities should be tied to pandemic-related needs, which is why we also request that
you implement the flexibilities for a specific length of time so schools aren't faced with
uncertainty and burdensome paperwork and bureaucracy.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this issue.