Special Bulletin for April 24, 2020

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Special Bulletin for April 24, 2020

Each section contains updates relevant to those nutrition programs. You can jump to the section you're interested in by clicking the link.

School Nutrition Programs

Minnesota Executive Order 20-41

Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-41 on Thursday, April 23, 2020 authorizing and directing the Commissioner of Education to extend the distance learning period through the rest of the 2019-20 school year. We know you may have questions about information in this executive order. More guidance will be provided in a bulletin message next week.


Are you looking for information on continuing the operation of your Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) under the non-congregate feeding waiver through the end of the school year? See the SFSP section below for details on this process. 


Area Eligibility Waiver 

The USDA issued a waiver to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to reduce the area eligibility threshold for School Food Authorities (SFAs) to participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) as an open site during the current school closure. Under the waiver, MDE prioritized applications from sponsors who have sites with 30 percent or more free or reduced-price (FRP)-eligible students. Beginning on Monday, April 27, 2020, MDE will process waiver requests from sponsors who have sites with less than 30 percent FRP-eligible students.  

Sponsors with closed-enrolled sites who have less than 30 percent FRP-eligible students will receive an email on Friday, April 24, with information on applying. Evidence of increased economic hardships for the families of children being served at the site must be provided to receive the waiver. Read Area Eligibility Policy and Procedures for more information. 


School Nutrition COVID-19 Webinar Updates 

On April 28, staff from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will provide a presentation on COVID-19 relative to school nutrition programs and serving meals during distance learning. MDH will review health awareness, precautions and other safety and cleaning/sanitizing topics.

Register for School Nutrition COVID-19 Update 4-28-2020  

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Summer Food Service Programs

Summer Food Service Program Year 2021

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) received a waiver to allow participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) through non-congregate feeding for schools and community organizations. The SFSP year 2021 begins May 1, so the waiver crosses program years 2020 and 2021. This means a new application is required in the Cyber-Linked Interactive Child Nutrition System (CLiCS). SFSP year 2021 applications will open by April 30 in CLiCS. 

The application deadlines on the MDE SFSP webpage have not been updated since the COVID-19 emergency, but they will be extended. These will be updated shortly and more information will be sent in future bulletins. 


Schools and community organizations operating under the SFSP Non-Congregate waiver and wishing to continue operating until school ends: 

MDE will roll over all site and sponsor applications that are currently participating in SFSP under the SFSP Non-Congregate waiver. MDE will then approve the site and sponsor applications through June 10, 2020. If schools continue to be closed after May 4 due to COVID-19 and a site serves meals into June, the number of days served and meal counts from May and June will need to be combined and submitted on the May claim for reimbursement. Therefore, schools operating under the SFSP Non-Congregate waiver due to COVID-19 will not need to do anything in CLiCS to continue serving until the end of the school year. 


Schools and community organizations that wish to participate in SFSP after the waiver expires: 

If your school/organization participated in SFSP last summer and wishes to continue operating SFSP, you must update your site and sponsor applications and be approved for the new program year. Site and sponsor applications must be updated and completed if a school currently operating under the waiver wishes to continue operating the SFSP after June 10. If a school's year does not end until after June 10, 2020, please contact MDE.FNS@state.mn.us to request the date be changed to reflect your school year.

If your school/organization did not participate in SFSP last summer, but is interested in participating this summer, please submit an Interest Survey and we will contact you. If you have already submitted an interest survey, you do not need to submit another one. The operation of SFSP under the waiver does not guarantee your site will be approved to operate SFSP after the waiver expires. 

Applications for sites and sponsors not participating under the waiver will roll over data as usual. 


Schools and community organizations that did not participate in SFSP under the SFSP Non-Congregate waiver, but participated in SFSP last summer and want to participate in SFSP for 2021: 

Your application will roll over with the status of “unapproved” by April 30, 2020. MDE will not auto-approve your application. You will need to go in and update the application and submit for approval for SFSP year 2021. 


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