FNS Issues Q&A on Meals for Limited English Proficiency Students

June 1, 2016 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

childAs we all know, the human mouth is useful for two important purposes: speaking and eating. Limitations to the first should not impact the second. Such could be said according to a recent document by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).

FNS has issued a memorandum to regional and state directors of child nutrition programs in the form of a Q&A emphasizing that local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools are required to take reasonable steps to ensure eligible households with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) individuals have access to school meals under the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program and the Special Milk Program.

USDA regulations require that LEAs must publicly announce the availability of free and reduced price meals. The announcement must include the assurance that there will be no discrimination against LEP persons in the school meal program.

FNS issued the memorandum in Q&A format to provide straightforward responses to questions that it has received regarding communications with LEP individuals, including: (1) general information about language access for LEP persons; (2) identification and assessment of the language needs for these persons and the resources to serve them; (3) translation of vital information using qualified, competent translators; (4) provision of oral interpretation services using qualified, competent interpreters; and (5) other factors to consider when developing procedures for LEP persons.

We’ve taken a look at the questions on the 8-page Q&A and agree that this is an effective way to present this information in a useful format. School programs and officials affected should take note of the document to make sure they are staying compliant with USDA regulations.

Let us know your reaction to this Q&A document. We’d love to hear from you.


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