Following Calls from Sinema, Administration Agrees to Extend Access to School Meals for Arizona Students

Oct 21, 2020

WASHINGTON – Following calls from Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) agreed to extend waivers and help Arizona students continue to access school meal programs for the 2020-2021 school year.
“School meals are critical sources of nutrition for 600,000 Arizona children. As Arizona continues distance-learning, ensuring Arizona students stay fed will help keep them healthy during this public health emergency,” said Sinema.
In July, Sinema and a bipartisan group of Senators first urged USDA to extend a variety of waivers that will help ensure Arizona students who rely on school breakfast and lunch can continue to access school-provided meals throughout the upcoming school year, even if they are distance-learning or should schools end up closing abruptly based on local pandemic conditions. However, USDA decided not to extend all waivers for the entire 2020-2021 school year, choosing instead to extend some waivers through the end of 2020 in response to the Senators’ request. In September, Sinema and her bipartisan colleagues urged the administration to correct this decision immediately to ensure support for Arizona school meal programs through the end of the 2020-2021 school year. The administration recently agreed and is extending all school meal waivers through the end of the 2020-2021 school year to help Arizona students access school meals.