CORONAVIRUS

Another COVID-19 change: Kids don't have to accompany adults to grab-and-go meal sites

Requirement waived in light of coronavirus

Teacher Michele Dorrance passes out grab-and-go meals to students Monday at Johnson Johnson STEAM Academy in Cedar Rapid
Teacher Michele Dorrance passes out grab-and-go meals to students Monday at Johnson Johnson STEAM Academy in Cedar Rapids. State officials announced Thursday students no long must accompany the adults picking up their grab-and-go meals. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

Effective immediately, children do not have to accompany the adults picking up their grab-and-go meals at Iowa’s 303 meal sites, most of them at K-12 schools.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture granted the waiver Thursday in an effort to ease the burden on Iowa families and to get food to the students who need it at this critical time, according to a news release.

Parents and caregivers will be asked to share the name of the school each child attends, if the child is of school age.

“We want to get healthy meals into the hands of students while minimizing the potential exposure to COVID-19,” said Ann Lebo, director of the Iowa Department of Education. “We understand that it isn’t practical for all children to accompany their parents and caregivers at meal sites.”

The grab-and-go meals — which include lunch and a breakfast for the following day in some school districts — are typically offered during the summer. But, with K-12 schools now closed, the program was activated this week during the national coronavirus health crisis.

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