Nutrition Program Bulletin - Week of May 11, 2020

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Nutrition Program Bulletin – Week of May 11, 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

Waiver Extension Requests

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) requested extensions from USDA for the following two waivers.

The Non-congregate Feeding Nationwide Waiver waives the requirements to serve meals through the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, and Summer Food Service Program in a congregate setting.

The Area Eligibility Waiver allows Summer Food Service Program sponsors who have school sites with fewer than 50 percent free or reduced-price-eligible students to apply to operate as an open site.

Currently, both waivers remain in effect through June 30, 2020 or upon expiration of the federally declared public health emergency, whichever is earlier. More information on MDE’s request to extend these waivers will be included in a future bulletin.


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

There are two waivers which allow non-congregate feeding through the SFSP and SSO:

  1. Minnesota-specific waiver allowing non-congregate feeding under the SFSP and SSO during unanticipated school closures, which was extended to expire on June 30, 2020. (Minnesota initially applied for this waiver for the state, and sponsors had to apply for approval.)
  2. Nationwide waiver allowing non-congregate feeding for Child Nutrition Programs, including SFSP, Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), National School Lunch Program (NSLP), and the School Breakfast Program (SBP). (Note: NSLP includes SSO.) This waiver expires on June 30, 2020.

Sponsors Currently Operating SFSP:

On April 27, 2020, the USDA released a waiver extending the option for schools and community organizations to operate SFSP or SSO under the non-congregate waiver mentioned above through June 30, 2020. SFSP and SSO applications for sponsors and sites who received this waiver have been rolled over and approved in the Cyber-Linked Interactive Child Nutrition System (CLiCS) for the month of May 2020. This allows the continual operation of SFSP and SSO through pick-up sites and home delivery to the end of the school year. The school year includes distance learning days, which are determined at the district level and vary between schools.

There are three options for sponsors operating under the waivers in SFSP:

  1. Serve meals to the end of the school year.
  2. Serve meals to June 30, 2020.
  3. Serve meals to June 30, 2020 under the waiver and then switch to regular SFSP. (Note: Regular SFSP/SSO will require additional documentation and eligibility requirements.)

Continuation of SFSP or SSO after Distance Learning up to June 30, 2020:

If a sponsor wishes to continue serving meals under the SFSP and SSO waiver between their scheduled last day of school year through June 30, 2020, the sponsor must resubmit and update their site application. Update the end date to June 30, 2020 and the number of operating days. Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) staff will re-approve these changes.

Continuation of SFSP or SSO after June 30, 2020:

Schools and community organizations may use the nationwide waiver to allow non-congregate feeding of the Child Nutrition Programs, including SFSP and SSO, through June 30, 2020. Sites will not be approved automatically to operate regular SFSP and SSO after this date. In order to participate in regular SFSP or SSO beginning on July 1, 2020, sites must be area-eligible and have a submitted application in CLiCS by June 21, 2020. Please enter all sites in CLiCS with accurate meal serving times and days to ensure feeding sites are accurately promoted.

  • If a sponsor operated SFSP or SSO in summer 2019, they must update their sponsor and site application(s) in CLiCS under program year 2021. This includes all sites where meals will be served. SFSP and SSO application documents will be required.
  • If a sponsor did not operate SFSP in summer 2019 but would like to participate in summer 2020, they must fill out an interest survey to determine area eligibility. If the site is determined to be ineligible for regular SFSP or SSO, MDE staff will reach out and notify the site not to serve past June 30.

Extension of the USDA Waivers:

At this time, the USDA has not indicated if they will be extending the non-congregate feeding waivers past June 30, 2020. MDE is directly applying for a statewide waiver to extend this flexibility.

Claiming of SFSP Meals:

Sites planning to discontinue meals when the school year ends:

Applications for program year 2021 were auto-approved for the month of May. Regulations allow up to 10 days of the next month to be included on a claim when it falls at the end of the program year. Therefore, sites that plan to discontinue meals when the schools year ends may claim meals served up to June 10, 2020 on their May claim.


School was in distance learning through June 5. May claim should include all of May and up to five days of June.

Sites planning to serve meals to June 30, 2020:

If a site chooses to continue SFSP or SSO under the nationwide waiver after the school year ends, claims will be submitted to their corresponding months.


School was in distance learning through June 5, but the site served meals under the waiver to June 30. All meals served in May will be claimed on the May claim, and all meals served in June will be claimed on the June claim.

Sites serving meals through June 30, 2020 under the waiver, then operating regular SFSP/SSO:

Claims will be submitted for meals served in the corresponding months.

Claiming of CACFP At-Risk Meals

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) At-Risk Program is only in operation through the end of the school year. Therefore, any sponsor participating in CACFP At-Risk should check with their school district to ensure At-Risk meals are served only through the end of distance learning for School Year 2019-20.

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School Nutrition Programs

Sample Food Safety Cards for Meal Distribution

We recently translated the Multiple Day Service Food Safety Card that is on our website into four additional languages: Hmong, Spanish, Karen, and Somali. These short messages are intended to provide instructions to families when distributing meals. They can be attached to daily bag lunches or included in multiple meal packages. The cards have general information for food safety and storage, including reheating temperatures. The food safety cards are printed six to a page and are posted on the FNS COVID-19 Resources under the Translated Documents heading.


COVID-19 Resources from Team Nutrition

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service released two new Team Nutrition resources that address meal service flexibilities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency. Both resources are available for download from the Team Nutrition website.


Local Wellness Policy Triennial Assessment Deadline Extension

The first required triennial assessment of the local wellness policy was originally due June 30, 2020. However, USDA is providing a revised deadline for completion of this requirement to ensure local educational agencies (LEAs) can continue to focus on providing meals and meal supplements safely to children during this public health emergency. Therefore, LEAs can elect to postpone the due date of their first triennial assessment to June 30, 2021.

LEAs wishing to accept the new deadline must inform the State agency by completing the Local Wellness Policy Triennial Assessment Deadline Extension survey no later than June 30, 2020.


School Nutrition COVID-19 Webinar

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 19 webinar.

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

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Opportunities from Our Partners

Webinar: Menu Planning for Non-Congregate Meals

The No Kid Hungry Center for Best Practices is offering a webinar on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, at 1 p.m., that is designed to offer insight on planning meals for non-congregate settings. Tune in to this webinar to learn about planning and procuring healthy, nutritious meals for kids in your community – and about keeping those meals safe on hot days. You'll hear from Jen McNeil from LunchAssist, Aleshia Hall-Campbell from the Institute on Child Nutrition, and Miguel Villareal from San Ramon Valley Unified School District. Register for the Menu Planning for Non-Congregate Meals webinar.


Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Food Access Survey

Second Harvest Heartland (SHH) is working closely with school and community partners to map their projected programs for this summer in order to assess coverage and to begin planning for gaps in food access. We recognize that it is difficult to plan until there is further guidance from the USDA. At this time, we are only gathering information on the SFSP. We understand that this is a busy time, but your input is invaluable! It is okay if your information is not final.

Please take a few minutes to share your school district or organization's plans for serving meals through SFSP this summer by completing the SFSP Food Access Survey. If you have any questions, please contact JoAnna Lund at, Child Hunger Specialist at SHH.

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