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Changes due to COVID-19

School authorities are working on alternative arrangements to continue the school nutrition program while students learn at home.

Non-profit organization pilot

We are repurposing $3 million previously announced for non-profit organizations to pilot efficiencies for delivering the school nutrition program in schools. With the cancellation of in-school classes indefinitely, the pilot’s funding is being directed to nine non-profit organizations to provide additional food assistance for vulnerable K-12 students and families in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These organizations will each get $300,000 or $375,000 to serve their communities of:

  • Edmonton
  • Calgary
  • Red Deer
  • Lethbridge
  • Medicine Hat
  • Grande Prairie
  • Fort McMurray

School authorities were allocated $15.5 million for the school nutrition program for the 2019/20 school year. We encourage them to find innovative ways to provide meals or food to vulnerable students and families while in-school classes are cancelled. Some have already developed new ways to provide food assistance, and many others are planning these arrangements.

School authorities who cannot continue a school nutrition program must direct their remaining funds to non-profit organizations who are able to serve vulnerable students and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overview

The school nutrition program helps approximately 40,000 students in participating schools get a daily nutritious meal that follows the Alberta Nutrition Guidelines for Children and Youth.

The program provides funding directly to school authorities to create, continue, or enhance existing nutrition programs in identified schools.

We encourage school authorities to work with community partners to use supports and resources in their area. These could include the many successful breakfast and lunch programs already in Alberta schools.

Participating school authorities should design a program that consists of one nutritious meal per school day. School authorities can determine what time to offer the meal.

Funding

Government increased the funding to $18.5 million ($15.5 million to school authorities and $3 million to non-profit organizations) for the program in the 2019/20 school year. Each school authority received the same amount of funding as in the 2018/19 school year.

Nutrition education

This program also aims to help people learn more about:

  • the importance of reading food labels
  • choice and preparation of healthy foods
  • accessing Alberta's food resources

Participating school authorities must include a nutrition education component as part of their program.

Learning and teaching resources

There are several opportunities to address health, wellness and nutrition in Alberta’s provincial curriculum.

Healthy schools

Healthy schools encourage students to:

  • practice healthy eating
  • practice active living
  • contribute to positive social environments in their school

Health and life skills (K to 9)

Health and life skills enables students to:

  • make well-informed, healthy choices
  • develop behaviours that contribute to the well-being of self and others
  • respond to the opportunities and expectations in the world of work

Career and Life Management (High school)

Career and Life Management program of studies helps students:

  • make good choices in all aspects of their lives, including health and nutrition
  • develop behaviours and attitudes that contribute to the well-being and respect of self and others

Career and Technology Studies (High school)

The Health, Recreation and Human Services cluster offers food and nutrition courses.

Nutrition resources and guidelines

News

Contact

Connect with Alberta Education for more information about the school nutrition program:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-427-9296
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: schoolnutrition@gov.ab.ca