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County schools make changes to wellness policy

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Covington County Schools on Tuesday approved revisions to its wellness policy specifically involving snacks and fundraisers.

“It’s a wellness policy mandated by the feds,” Superintendent Shannon Driver said. “Some of the things we are already doing.”

Board member Lynda Powell, who sat on the committee for the wellness policy said there were some really good ideas brought forth by the committee including selling fruit at snack time.

Child Nutrition Director Carrie Patterson said they would explore those options, but that the idea for fruit to be sold came from a student on the committee.

The new guidelines are mandated as part of the USDA Smart Snacks in School and Fundraising Policy.

Patterson said the state department of education adopted an amended resolution in May and it endorsed the changes to the policy.

“The purpose of the policy is for all school districts and organizations participating in USDA programs to focus on improving food quality by offering healthy food choices on their campus in vending machines, school stores, and cafeterias,” Dr. Tommy Bice said in a memo. “This means that school administrators and child nutrition directors must evaluate all foods served and sold on campus to validate Smart Snacks standard compliance of the nutrition content of products as established by the USDA and the Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.”

While the implementation of the new standards has forced strict food guidelines, but Patterson said there is room for some leniency such as exempt fundraisers.

“These fundraisers may not exceed 30 fundraisers of no more than one day per school year,” she said. “The number of fundraisers cannot exceed 30 days per year.”

These fundraisers do not include food items sold in school stores, vending machines, before school on school campus, or as a la carte items in cafeterias.

Additionally, these fundraisers may not be sold one hours before and one hour after meal periods.