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The Minnesota Student Association (MSA) is planning to propose the addition of a smaller, six meal/week meal plan option for the University of Minnesota students living in residence halls who are required to have a meal plan.

5 coronavirus things: Student Association pushes for smaller mandatory meal plan option

This and a growing interest among health insurers to add meal services are some of the stories you may have missed recently regarding the COVID-19 crisis.

In this special edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments regarding coronavirus and its impact on onsite dining.

Here’s your list for today:

  1. Student Association pushes for smaller meal plan due to COVID

Because of reduced options and difficulties in making a reservation to eat in a campus dining hall due to COVID-mandated restrictions, the Minnesota Student Association (MSA) is planning to propose the addition of a smaller, six meal/week meal plan option for the University of Minnesota students living in residence halls who are required to have a meal plan. A November MSA survey found that 39% of students with meal plans are not eating in the dining halls as frequently when compared to past semesters but are still required to purchase at least an 11 meal/week plan.

Read more: MSA to propose smaller meal plans, cite student difficulty with residence hall dining

  1. Health insurers look to expand into covering meal programs for patients

Food has become a bigger focus for health insurers—mostly government-funded programs like Medicaid or Medicare Advantage—as they look to expand their coverage beyond clinical services, especially in the COVID era, and more plans are now paying for temporary meal deliveries with some even teaching people how to cook and eat healthier foods. Next year, Medicare will start testing meal program vouchers for patients with malnutrition as part of a broader look at improving care and reducing costs while nearly seven million people were enrolled last year in a Medicare Advantage plan that offered some sort of meal benefit, according to research from the consulting firm Avalere Health.

Read more: Insurers add food to coverage menu as way to improve health

  1. CDC survey shows few teens get recommended daily fruit/veg intake

While USDA recommendations call for a minimum intake of 1.5 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables for girls 14 to 18 years old and two cups of fruit and three cups of vegetables for boys the same age, an analysis released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that in 2017, only 7.1% of high school students nationally met the recommended intake for fruits and 2% met the recommended intake for vegetables.

Read more: Teens Still Don’t Eat Enough Fruits and Vegetables, Study Shows

  1. Ohio University reopens food court for takeout

Ohio University has partially reopened its Shively Court for takeout orders made through its OHIO EATS mobile app after having announced the venue’s permanent closure last spring. The move was made to alleviate long lines at campus dining halls.

Read more: Shively Court partially reopens with Grab N’ Go available

  1. Postponed NBA games result in food donation to Portland nonprofit

Following two postponed Portland Trail Blazer home NBA games at the Moda Center, hundreds of sandwiches and salads made by concessionaire Levy for staff and media was donated to Urban Gleaners, a nonprofit that collects leftover food from restaurants and grocers then provides it to families in need across the Portland metro area. The food will be divided among food boxes that Urban Gleaners will deliver to local schools, where families can pick them up.

Read more: 'It felt really good': Postponed Blazers games prompt food donations

Bonus: University of Nebraska dining services scaling back on self-service—for good

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

TAGS: Coronavirus
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