Monday, I joined Gov. Perry and other state leaders in San Antonio for a press conference announcing the state’s preparedness plans for the anticipated H1N1 flu season. With most students going back to school this week, it is critical we are prepared for such a public health emergency.
More than 2 million Texas children rely on the school lunch program for their most important meal of the day. If schools are forced to close due to a serious health threat, many of these kids simply have nowhere else to turn and end up going without a meal. Earlier this year, when some school districts closed because of the H1N1 flu outbreak, 500,000 students were left without access to the meals normally provided by the school lunch program.
That’s why I contacted U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asking him for a change in federal policy that would allow schools to be reimbursed for meals served during an H1N1 closure. We have received that change and are now working with Texas schools to develop plans for the continuation of meal service in non-congregate settings to ensure students are protected from illnesses. Here’s a video link to the press conference outlining our plans.