SWITCH Coalition Resources During COVID-19

During the unprecedented changes that have occurred as a result of COVID-19, the state-wide Massachusetts School Wellness Initiative for Thriving Community Health (SWITCH) partners are sharing a variety of accessible resources for schools, students and their families.

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)

DESE has worked to remove any barriers that could prevent schools from serving meals while they are closed. USDA has approved DESE’s request to waive the requirement that school meal sites must be located in areas where at least 50 percent of school lunch program participants are eligible for free and reduced-price meals. Therefore, all school districts that are distributing meals during school closures related to COVID-19 and are focusing the distribution of these meals to children and teens in need of them are now eligible for USDA reimbursement. Further details will be released.

The Meals 4 Kids website provides a list of school closure meal information, with a map demonstrating locations and a list of over 1,200 sites available for food distribution.

Massachusetts Health Council

The Massachusetts Health Council is encouraging middle school and high school students to put their creative skills to the test in a video contest! Students are being asked to create a video covering five ways that you can prevent the spread of COVID-19. Not only is this contest a great way to keep kids busy and do something constructive, and the winner may win $500!

The deadline for video submission is April 10th, 2020. The winner will be announced on April 17th, 2020.

New England Dairy

New England Dairy is working to distribute portable milk coolers for districts in need to keep milk and meals cold for service needs. They have also put together resources for virtual learning, including:

UMass Extension/SNAP-Ed

UMass Extension/SNAP-Ed has extended their resources for any individual requiring SNAP assistance. They aim to send weekly e-mails to partners featuring a recipe of the week, a nutrition tip, food safety and food access messages, and physical activity messages. For further nutrition and physical activity messages from DTA Snap-Ed, click here.

BOKS

To promote physical activity, BOKS has opened up their curriculum featuring various 2-10-minute activity breaks. To encourage further participation and the promotion of physical activity at home, weekly e-mails featuring 5 activities are being sent to anyone subscribed to their resources via e-mail. Additionally, BOKS has been hosting Facebook Live classes every weekday at 12PM EST.

All resources and activity packs are available for download on their website.

Playworks

Playworks has gathered a library of videos and other resources to highlight their games and activities for families to utilize in their homes. Each activity meets CDC requirements for social distancing and are available for free on the Play at Home website.

The Play at Home Playbook game guide offers a variety of games and activities for families to do together with little or no equipment.

Additionally, Playworks has also been utilizing Facebook Live three times a day to promote a virtual recess. Each day features a warm-up, a game, and a cool-down with a cheer. All past recesses are logged into the Playworks video bank to experience what each recess feels like!

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