COVID-19 and school food
The impact of the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic on student nutrition programs in Ontario
Keywords:School Nutrition Programs, Student Nutrition Programs, COVID-19, Pandemic, Qualitative Research, Food Security
This paper is an exploration of the impact of the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic on emergency food supply to school-aged children in Ontario, Canada. Using surveys in the framework of a bounded qualitative case study, we investigate how Student Nutrition Program (SNP) support staff have responded to the changed circumstances of the pandemic. Results indicate that program support staff were able to shift the SNP’s focus from universal access in-school nutrition programs to targeted food security initiatives for families. This shift was possible due to the complex web of relationships within which SNPs in Ontario operate. Additional data and findings are discussed in the article, relating to the prepandemic operation of SNPs, how programs have been affected, and the concerns of SNP support staff about future issues as the programs restart in the new school year under pandemic conditions.
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