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Evaluation of COVID-19 School Meals Response

About Us

School closures during COVID-19 have increased the risk for food insecurity among children across the United States, including in Maryland. To support access to meals for children during school closures, the emergency Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) was initiated in lieu of traditional school meals programs, the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). Federal and State governments also issued several temporary waivers (described in the figure below) to enable flexibilities to existing policies to support the provision of these emergency meals.

The University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) worked with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), Maryland School Systems (Local Education Agencies or LEAs), and Food Service leadership at three levels (State, LEA, and meal site) to evaluate meal provision during COVID-19-related school closures.

Specific Aims

  • Examine the reach (number of free or reduced priced breakfast and lunch meals served before versus after spring 2020 COVID-19-related school closures) and effectiveness (number of total breakfast and lunch meals served before versus after school closures), and the role of federal waiver utilization and communication/meal distribution strategies associated with reach and effectiveness;
  • Describe adoption (via communication with families) and implementation costs of school meal service;
  • Understand public LEA and distribution site-level implementation processes for meal provision, including supportive factors and barriers; and,
  • Understand strategies for maintenance of meal service (following Spring 2020 school closures).

Project Coordinator



Rachel Deitch, M.S, CHES
Project Coordinator 

University of Maryland, School of Medicine



Principal Investigator


Erin Hager, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator 

University of Maryland, School of Medicine






Data Reports

Evaluation of COVID-19 School Meals Response

Volunteer & Internship Opportunities

Why Volunteer

Reasons to Volunteer or Intern:

  • Be involved in cutting edge research
  • Strengthen your resume
  • Publication opportunities
  • Improve your interpersonal skills
  • Gain an understanding of how to conduct community research
  • Potentially earn credits for school
  • It's fun!

Volunteer Duties

The types of duties an internship might entail:

  • Recruiting participants
  • Scheduling interviews, making appointments, and contacting participants
  • Helping facilitate parent groups on topics pertaining to nutrition, physical activity, parenting skills, and child safety
  • Conducting participant interviews
  • Collecting data
  • Filing and other office duties
  • Data entry and analysis


If interested internship positions, please send resume or CV to:   

Rachel Deitch
Project Coordinator
University of Maryland, School of Medicine
Department of Pediatrics
737 West Lombard Street
Baltimore, MD 21201