After August ends, the USDA will not allow schools to continue flexibility to provided free meals to all children, no matter their age or qualifications.
It was a program that was introduced in March as a part of the Families First Coronavirus Relief Bill, but now is coming to an abrupt end.
"The USDA has indicated that it will not be providing these waivers again, as we enter another school year affected by the same pandemic that legitimately justified the need to serve children differently," Senator Debbie Stabenow said.
Their reasoning? That they don't have the authority and Stabenow says this does not make sense.
"We received a letter back from the USDA saying they no longer have this flexibility unless the congress acts with another package,” she said. “They didn't have the flexibility to do what they've been doing from the very beginning? It makes no sense."
It's causing an uproar from lawmakers and school officials nationwide, and Beecher Community Schools Superintendent Marcus Davenport said. says it will especially affect his district.
"There is no quarantine period for starvation,” Davenport said. “Starvation does not end with the pandemic. We need the flexibility to ensure meals can reach each student each day since we are the primary source of students within our district."
They are both urging the USDA to reconsider.
But if they don't reverse the decision, it will be another month before congress even considers legislation to allow for additional funding.
"To limit the necessary feeding of children at any time is reprehensible,” Davenport said. In a pandemic, it's an outrage."