USDA approves West Virginia to provide meals to children with schools closed due to coronavirus outbreak

West Virginia

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UPDATE (3/13/20 11:37 a.m.)

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Shortly after posting this article, Governor Justice announced all West Virginia schools would be closed. Watch the media conference here.

ORIGINAL (3/13/20 11:20 a.m.)

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved a waiver for the West Virginia Office of Child Nutrition to prepare to feed children meals following the Summer Food Service Program and National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option guidelines if West Virginia schools close due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a release from Senator Manchin’s Office.

This is following a letter sent to the USDA Secretary, Sunny Perdue, by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin late Thursday night, according to the release. Senator Manchin’s Office said this approval allows West Virginia to be reimbursed for the meals provided to the state’s most vulnerable students outside a school setting to avoid unnecessary large groups during the outbreak.

“West Virginia is home to over 120,000 children who receive free school meals. This is more than 120,000 children who would go hungry without schools providing the food these children and their families rely on. The USDA has approved the waiver application for the West Virginia Office of Child Nutrition to ensure these students don’t go hungry if West Virginia schools are closed during the coronavirus outbreak. I am glad Secretary Perdue agrees this is an urgent matter and hope that this will help our state leaders make the right decisions to protect all West Virginians from this virus, including closing our schools if necessary,”

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