The coronavirus has become a hot topic. No breaking news there. Everyone is doing their best to protect the overall population health, I have no doubt. A lot of times when we make broad sweeping changes, however, we forget about the unintentional consequences. I heard today that a local school district is cancelling classes for at least a week. At first glance, this falls in line with every other major institutions’ decisions the past week. We most likely forget, however, that a large proportion of our school-aged children rely on school attendance to receive 2 meals per day.
Thankfully there have been proposals to aid during this difficult time to feed children who are reliant on the school system for meals. States can request waivers from the USDA to continue providing meals, with Texas recently drafting its own. I recommend to local pediatricians to advise families to contact their local school districts to inquire about meal assistance programs. I also recommend contacting your Congressional House of Representatives member asking to expand the SNAP food assistance program during this difficult time.
Zachary Stone, MD