Special Bulletin for May 1, 2020

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Special Bulletin for May 1, 2020

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

All Nutrition Programs

Distribution of Funding under Executive Order 20-41 

Per Executive Order 20-41, item 23, funds remaining for the state match appropriation of the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program (NSLP) will be reallocated after June 30, 2020. This funding was allocated in the 2020 state budget for the NSLP program and will be reallocated to school food authorities that transitioned to the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The funds will be distributed based on meals served from March 16, 2020, to the end of the school year 2019-20.   

The Minnesota Department of Education, Nutrition Health and Youth Development (NHYD) division rolled Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) applications over to the new program year and extended approval dates to June 10. Sponsors should include their June meals served through the school year on their May claim. Once May claims are submitted, NHYD will determine how many meals were served by schools, divide the funding to be distributed by the number of meals served during the time period and distribute the funds to schools. The deadline for May claims is July 31, 2020. However, schools are encouraged to submit their May claims as soon as possible for quick distribution of the re-allocated funds.   

MDE will not hold any funding back for schools that miss the claiming deadline for future adjustments.  


Meal Pattern Flexibilities Waiver Extension 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) recently extended the availability of the meal pattern flexibilities waiver through May 31, 2020. This nationwide waiver allows for meal pattern flexibility when there is a COVID-19-related disruption to the availability of food products. If you were previously approved under the initial waiver, no further action is needed to use this extension. For more information, please review the Nationwide Waiver to Allow Meal Pattern Flexibility in the Child Nutrition Programs – Extension. 


Minnesota School Lunch Hero Day

Governor Walz declared today (May 1, 2020) Minnesota School Lunch Hero Day! The Governor's Proclamation declares and recognizes the valuable work that school nutrition professionals do all year long and especially during this COVID-19 pandemic. All nutrition staff have shown their dedication by stepping up to the plate and providing outstanding meals to Minnesota children during very stressful circumstances. By being deemed “essential,” you have provided over 6 million meals since March 18.

From all of us at MDE, thank you for your tireless efforts to keep kids fed. Your work makes a difference! Enjoy two short videos to show our appreciation today and every day. They showcase the amazing work you do and express our heartfelt thanks.


Meal Service During Novel Coronavirus Outbreaks: Questions and Answers Memo #4

USDA FNS recently released the fourth questions and answers memo around operating child nutrition programs during the coronavirus public health emergency. This memo contains information specific to Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and civil rights requirements. For more information, please read Child Nutrition Program Meal Service during Novel Coronavirus Outbreaks: Questions and Answers #4.


Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO)

Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors in Minnesota have the option to utilize USDA waivers regarding offer versus serve, first week site visits, meal service time limitations, and area eligibility in closed enrolled sites, which expire April 30, 2020. USDA FNS recently released four nationwide waivers extending these options through September 30, 2020. Please note that while all four waivers relate to SFSP, two of the waivers also apply to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Seamless Summer Option (SSO). These waivers apply automatically to all summer sponsors without the need for application to MDE. For more information, please read the following memos:


Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Meal Claims

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) would like to remind School Food Authorities (SFAs) that SFSP meals served during school closure need to be claimed separately from the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. Please review the documents How to Submit a Claim for Reimbursement for the Summer Food Service Program or Seamless Summer Option and School Nutrition COVID-19 Questions and Answers for additional information. 


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School Nutrition Programs

School Nutrition COVID-19 Webinar Updates

Weekly webinars will be held on Tuesdays at 2 p.m. to update school nutrition program staff on issues related to COVID-19. Select the link below to register for the May 5 webinar.

Register for School Nutrition COVID-19 Update 5-5-2020 


Community Eligibility Provision Application/Enrollment

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) allows eligible districts and/or schools in low-income areas to provide school lunches and breakfasts at no charge to all students, using simplified meal counting and claiming procedures.

A webinar covering the CEP application process is scheduled for Tuesday, May 12, 2020, at 2 p.m. The webinar will cover application steps as well as provide an overview of the deadline extensions provided by a recent USDA waiver.

Register for the School Nutrition COVID-19 Update/CEP application process Webinar 5-12-2020.

Who Should Attend This Webinar?

  • School Food Authorities (SFAs) or schools that plan on, or are interested in, submitting an application to participate as a new sponsor for School Year (SY) 2020-21.
  • SFAs currently participating in CEP whose Identified Student Percentage (ISP) has increased and would like to resubmit direct certification and enrollment data in order to receive a higher reimbursement percentage.
  • SFAs currently participating whose four-year eligibility is expiring on June 30, 2020.

CEP Deadline and Application Requirements

USDA granted a waiver to extend the CEP deadlines for SY 2020-21.

  • The ISD can be calculated using data from any single day between April 1 and June 30, 2020.
  • CEP applications for SY 2020-21 are due no later than August 31, 2020.

The full text of the waiver can be viewed on USDA’s website: CN COVID-19 CEP Waiver.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible, SFAs and/or schools must have a minimum ISP of 40 percent on any single day between April 1 and June 30, 2020. For more information on how the ISP is calculated, visit the MDE CEP webpage.

To begin preparing your CEP application, see the CEP Application Instructions for SY 2020-21 on the CEP webpage. As you prepare to apply, consider these other important facts and upcoming dates about the CEP application:

  • SFAs must submit their applications through the Cyber-Linked Interactive Child Nutrition System 2 (CLiCS 2). Applications will be available in CLiCS 2 in early June 2020.
  • Residential Child Care Institutions (RCCIs) are not eligible to participate in CEP. However, day treatment program sites operated by an RCCI are eligible to participate.
  • An updated list showing SY 2019-20 proxy site/school level ISPs will be available on the Minnesota Department of Education’s website by June 1.

SFAs or schools interested in CEP should consider other factors besides their ISP before they apply. Does participating make financial sense? Do you have staff and community support to participate? See the CEP webpage resources and the CEP Decision Tree for more guidance on whether to apply for CEP.

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