San Juan – The Secretary of Education, Eligio Hernández Pérez, announced that, from this Monday, September 28, all minors between one and 18 years old will be able to benefit from the food prepared by school canteens regardless of whether or not they are enrolled in the public education system.
This is because as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Food and Nutrition Services program, of the federal Department of Agriculture (USDA, for its acronym in English), granted a waiver to extend the Summer Food Services Program (PSAV) which is traditionally offered during the months of June to July and which is extended to all children and young people on the island.
“The summer program is much more flexible than the regular one and therefore we can offer lunch services to all minors on the island. The only requirement is that an adult stop by the school and pick it up. To safeguard the protection of all, it will continue to be offered in the grab and go or ready-and-go mode ”, explained the head of the agency.
“We have more opportunities to increase participation because there are fewer restrictions and I am confident that it will be of more benefit to families who are at home collaborating with distance education,” he added.
In this way, as of Monday, the parents or guardians of any minor will be able to go through any of the more than 650 open school canteens near their residence and collect the rations.
From now on, it will not be necessary to request the service in writing (form or parental commitment) or provide a student number and not take the minor with you.
With this waiver, the PSAV will be in effect until December 31, 2020. At the moment, only lunch will be served, but if demand increases, breakfast will be considered.
The secretary recalled that, during the past summer months, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, school cafeteria employees made and delivered between 70,000 and 80,000 services a day, while during the regular program that began on August 31 , the demand has been between 24 thousand and 30 thousand daily lunches, reason why he considers that from now on demand will increase.
Regarding the pick-up time, Hernández Pérez indicated that the School Food Authority recommends that they be delivered between 10:30 am and 12:30 pm or between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm, but each school director may establish schedules according to with the particularities of your community.
He emphasized that, due to health provisions, delivery should not exceed two hours.
As for the employees of school canteens, they are already working assigned to different schools and as a result of this they will not undergo changes in their working hours.