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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Report: MD schools serving thousands fewer meals post-COVID

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Tuesday, June 25, 2024   

The latest Maryland School Breakfast Report finds tens of thousands fewer kids are being served post COVID.

The end of pandemic era waivers two years ago saw schools revert to tiered systems of free or reduced-price meals based on household income. In turn, despite a slightly larger student population, the 2022-23 school year saw the average number of breakfasts served in a day fall by nearly 39,000, and saw 65,000 fewer lunches served, compared with 2020-21.

LaMonika Jones, interim director of Maryland Hunger Solutions, said reducing the reach of school meals, especially breakfast, takes a toll in the classroom.

"It's challenging for a student at any age to sit in the classroom and focus on what the teacher is trying to share when they're hungry. I understand the argument that it takes away from instruction, but the distraction of being hungry also takes away from instructional time," Jones explained.

The report shows the total number of breakfasts served in the state overall fell by more than 6.5 million in 2022 versus the year prior.

The report identifies barriers to school breakfast participation, including cost, time and the stigma associated with being on a free meal program.

Schools with at least 40% of students qualifying for free or reduced-price meals can opt-in to the state-funded Maryland Meals for Achievement program, which offers free breakfast to all students. While traditional school breakfasts are served in the cafeteria before class, Jones says MMFA is an alternative breakfast model that offers greater flexibility.

"Our students are able to either have 'grab and go' style, which works really well for our older students, or for our little ones, we're able to have breakfast in the classroom. And having those alternative models in place, as well as the funding to cover the cost of these alternative models, ensures that we're meeting that need," she continued.

This past year saw 588 schools participate in MMFA, up from 485 in 2019.


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Health and Wellness

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North Carolina must increase its crisis response capacity for long-term success, according to a new report by the mental-health policy group …


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In response to an alarmingly high number of suicides among construction workers, Michigan's construction leaders have taken measures to tackle mental …

Environment

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Health and Wellness

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New York doctors are advising people how to stay healthy in the summer heat. Temperatures across the state will reach the high 80s and mid-90s in …

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Social Issues

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A new Virginia law protects residents from utility shutoffs in extreme weather. The law prevents utility company shutoffs when temperatures are at …

Social Issues

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Social Issues

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