Weekly School Nutrition Newsletter


Dear Food Service Contact,

This email provides news for schools concerning the Child Nutrition Programs from USDA and the state. If you are the food service contact for your school or corporation, it is your responsibility to relay important information provided to you about the Child Nutrition Programs to other staff members.

Federal Government Reopening

  • A bill was signed to fund and reopen federal agencies until February 15. 
  • USDA Secretary Purdue stated, “we will prepare for a smooth reestablishment of USDA functions.”
  • For more information and to read the rest of his statement on the reopening, click here.

Special Dietary Needs Resources

  • New resources have been created and posted on the Indiana Department of Education's (IDOE's) Special Dietary Needs webpage including:
    • Discontinuation of Accommodations form 
    • Indiana's Handbook for Managing Special Dietary Needs in School Food Service (recently updated!)
    • Spanish Medical Statement Form and Parent Letter
    • Spanish Milk Substitution Form
  • Don't forget! There are four courses on inTEAM that review special dietary needs materials for schools.
  • Questions? Contact Ashley Heller at aheller@doe.in.gov.

E-Learning Days FAQ

  • Many schools are offering e-learning days for their students throughout the school year. The following are frequently asked questions:
  • Can our school feed students on e-learning days?
    • As long as IDOE recognizes these e-learning days as school days, you are allowed to open buildings to provide meals.
  • Are schools required to feed students on e-learning days?
    • No, schools are not required to feed students on e-learning days. Schools with a high free and reduced rate might consider opening up one or more buildings to provide meals for their students, but that is completely up to the sponsor.
  • If we only open one of our schools to feed on an e-learning day, how do we claim reimbursement for students that don’t go to that school?
    • You will need to keep track of which students are receiving a reimbursable meal. Typically a school corporation’s POS system can easily allow other students to be counted in a building that is not their home school. You will want to check with your POS system on how to do this. If your POS system cannot do this, talk to your Field Specialist about the best way to document and claim these meals.
  • Can we send home sack lunches for students to eat during an e-learning day?
    • No, reimbursable meals must be consumed on school property or at a school-sponsored off-site location, such as during a field trip. Meals are not allowed to be sent home and claimed for reimbursement.
  • If no meals are being served on e-learning days, are these considered operating days on the claim?
    • No, you will only count days that you provided reimbursable meals as operating days on the claim for reimbursement.
  • Questions about e-learning days? Contact Allie Caito-Sipe at acaito@doe.in.gov.

Food Distribution Program Handbook

  • The Food Distribution Program has created a new handbook as a useful resource for school food service personnel.
  • This handbook covers:
    • Understanding USDA Foods procedures and policies
    • Helpful tips on
      • the pre-order survey
      • entitlement
      • ordering
      • and much more!
  • To view the handbook click here.
  • Questions? Contact Cheryl Moore at cmoore@doe.in.gov.

ISNA Winter Seminar

  • Don't forget! ISNA's Winter Seminar will be tomorrow, Friday, February 1 at the Willows on Westfield.
    • Topics include an exciting opening session by Dr. Patricia Payne, standardized recipes, an IDOE updates panel, food insecurity, food waste, and more!
  • For more information, click here.
  • To register, click here.
  • Questions? Contact Sheri Shipp at sheri@indianasna.org.

Preschool Meal Pattern Webpage

  • Have you seen our Preschool Meal Pattern webpage recently?
    • The webpage has been updated and reorganized to help schools find information faster and easier.
  • Click here to access the webpage. 
  • A new resource about serving school meals to preschoolers has also been added.
    • This resource outlines the differences between the preschool and K-5 meal patterns
    • There is also a detailed explanation about co-mingled meal service
  • Click here to access this new document. 

Missed a Weekly School Nutrition Newsletter? Click here to access previous newsletters!

Please do not reply directly to this email. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this email, please contact Allie Caito-Sipe at acaito@doe.in.gov, call (317) 232-0849, or toll-free at 1-800-537-1142 ext. 20849. You can also contact Ashley Heller at aheller@doe.in.gov, call (317) 232-0544, or toll-free at 1-800-537-1142 ext. 20544.