Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Policy responses

Examples of responses:
1) Keeping canteens open to serve meals to vulnerable children (e.g. Rio, Brazil)

2) Setting up collection points for grab and go meals or for food baskets/kits/rations (uncooked foods) (e.g. Costa Rica (both fresh and non perishable foods) Colombia, Chile, Dominican Republic, or Kerala in India).
3) Delivering school meals/food baskets door to door. In many cases bus drivers and truck drivers are volunteering  (e.g. some some districts in the US)

4) Civil society and private sector can partner with schools to rapidly address needs, including volunteering for meal preparation, delivery and offering collection points. Restaurants, charities and NGOs can also support the preparation of school meals (e.g. US and UK). Some online networks and maps can be set up to coordinate approaches.

 5) Providing supermarket/food vouchers for families with schoolchildren
Other recent international recommendations so far point to increasing/introducing cash transfers for families with children recipients of meals, directly linking families with local farmers, redistribution of food to entities responsible for providing food assistance, exoneration of taxes to families with schoolchildren, among others.

Links and references

Draft WFP-FAO guidance (to be published week of 23 March 2020)

IASC interim key messages and actions for COVID prevention and control in schools                                  

Pros 1) Children can get regular meals in their own schools, ensuring that they are the final beneficiaries and can provide a sense of normalcy 2) If choosing fresh foods and attempting to provide a similar nutrition composition than regular meals, assuming they are following nutrition targets (either as cooked meals or food baskets), diet diversity and adequacy can be supported, and if they are supplied from smallholder farmers, these can maintain contracts. Food baskets can also benefit siblings at the household level and are easier to collect multiple at once and to store at home. 3) Better coverage if schools have a good inventory of where children live, requires little movement from families, similar pros than for collection in terms of nutrition. 4) Rapid responsiveness to changing conditions, wider reach than individual schools, various resources and innovations that can be targeted to identifying and responding to children´s food security and nutrition nmediate needs 5) Simple delivery logistics, no handling of food, depending on the modality could potentially link with local smallhlder farmers
Cons 1) Families may avoid bringing children to the school due to fears of infection, limits of movement can eventually disrupt the response, gatherings may be unavoidable, there may be unintented waste, there may be shortages of staff due to fears of infection or disease, and it may be difficult to ensure that all staff, families and children follow COVID-19 protocols 2) If serving meals, it may not be possible to provide various meals at once, due to logistic issues. If distributing baskets, it may not be possible to ensure priority for children at the household level. Foods high in fat, sugar and salt may be prefered in some baskets due to longer shelf life. All families may not be able to be contacted for pick-up. Contracts with smallholders for fresh foods may be jeopardized. 3) Delivery is more time consuming and resource intensive, compliance with food safety recommendations for cooked meals may be jeopardized. All families may not be able to be contacted for drop-off. 4) Nutrition content of meals or baskets may be jeopardized: foods high in sugar, fat and salt might predominate; difficulty to ensure that volunteers comply with social distancing and hygien protocols; an uncoordinated approach could risk duplication of efforts and leaving some children behind; commercial interests could play a role. Smallholders with existing contracts could be affected. 5) Temporary shortages could happen due to stockpiling or inability to reach markets, children might not be prioritized at the household level, nutrition content of meals can be jeopardized at household level, and smallholders can be left behind if only considering supermarkets
Minimum conditions 1) Being able to ensure a flexible schedule to avoid large gatherings, excellent compliance with hygiene and social distancing protocols, and some degree of freedom of movement 2) A good system for communicating with families and coordinating pick up (through mobile phones, teachers, community leaders, etc); enough collection points (e.g. schools, food banks, restaurants); enough staff and volunteers that are able to follow and monitor social distancing and hygiene protocols during collection 3) Enough means of transport with basic conditions for transporting food, enough transport workers or volunteers if done at community level, a good system for coordinating delivery /drop-offs with families 4) adequate communication between school meal services and partners, basic understanding of the needs, basic awareness of social distancing and hygiene protocols for volunteers and partners 5) a basic system for distributing vouchers linked with markets or suppliers
Governance Flexibility and autonomy should be considered for regions to make decisions according to their capacities and main needs of the student populations. Setting up an emergency school meal committee to rapidly assess and analyze response options, either a
Other Elements Independently of the response, there are several key points for consideration, including: -covering the most vulnerable schoolchildren. This means an adeqauet targeting system should be operating; -ensuring compliance with social distancing and hygiene

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