Education & Childcare

Headline:

Unless Congress acts to extend funding, the federal waivers that allowed school districts to provide free school lunches during the pandemic are set to expire on June 30, 2022.

Last-reviewed: 9am, June 23, 2022

Key Resource: US Department of Education (ED) COVID-19 Information

Education

The Basics

  • Each state is handling the pandemic differently. For information on a specific state’s K-12 education plan, check that state’s department of education.

The Breakdown

  • The US Secretary of Education advises schools to set masking guidelines that are the same as the communities in which they are located. Read the full letter for details.
  • P-EBT benefits are available for some families for the 2021-2022 school year. For state-specific information, check the USDA website.
  • All school children who received free or reduced-price school meals are eligible for summer 2022 P-EBT benefits. SNAP-enrolled children under age 6 are only eligible while the federal public health emergency remains in effect. Read this Pandemic EBT Summer 2022 Q&A for more information.
  • The USDA extended universal free school lunch to the end of the 2021-2022 school year. For information on a specific state’s implementation of this program, check that state’s department of education. Some states, including California and Maine, have passed legislation to continue to provide universal school meals after the federal waiver ends on June 30, 2022. In the event Congress does not act to renew funding, applications for free and reduced-price meals will be available on school district websites beginning July 1, 2022.
  • Nationwide, many schools expect higher school meal program costs, food supply issues, and labor shortages to continue through the summer and into the next school year. If a K-12 student is having difficulty accessing school meals lunch, they can contact their District and their state’s department of education.
  • There is a nationwide shortage of school bus drivers. If a K-12 student is having difficulty getting to and from school, they can contact their District and their state’s department of education.
  • The ED has resources, like the Parent and Family Digital Learning Guide, available to help families with remote learning. 
  • The ED also has resources for teachers and administrators like the Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs.
  • Students with Long COVID may qualify for additional services under IDEA or Section 504. See this ED Long COVID Guide for additional information.
  • People with certain federal student loans will be excused from making payments until September 1, 2022. During this time, the loans will have a 0% interest rate. This does not apply to private loans. Visit studentaid.gov for additional information.

The Bottom Line

  • Most K-12 schools and childcare programs have returned to normal operating procedures.