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N.H. DOE Seeks Waivers So Schools Can Feed Kids If Coronavirus Causes Closures

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The New Hampshire Department of Education is asking the USDA for waivers so that schools can continue offering meals to students even if buildings close in response to COVID-19.

Other states are making similar requests, as schools prepare for the possibility of having to close buildings and shift to long-term remote instruction.

Click here for our live blog for the latest updates on coronavirus in New Hampshire.

In New Hampshire, the vast majority of schools offer free or reduced lunch and in many cases, breakfast. Of those schools, the N.H. DOE says nearly 40% of students are eligible, and getting them meals during long-term building closure could be a challenge.

The DOE wants the USDA to allow schools to offer drop-off grab and go lunches, so students wouldn’t have to eat in large groups, and for schools to offer meals that don’t meet typical meal pattern standards, in case certain food groups become less available.

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Schools considering long-term remote instruction who wish to continue meal service can contact Cheri White, Administrator of the Office of Nutrition Programs and Services at 603-271-3860 or

The N.H.DOE also issued guidance today for community events. It says inviting people from around New Hampshire for events does not in itself increase the risk of exposure, but that schools hosting events with attendees from other states should consider cancelling the event.

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Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.
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