Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Special Bulletin - May 27, 2020

Nutrition Program Bulletin Banner - Healthy Food

Summer Food Service Program Updates – May 27, 2020

Information provided in this bulletin reflects what we know at this time. With the evolving COVID-19 situation, information may change and we will provide updates in the bulletin.

On May 14, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided the following four nationwide waivers, which affect program operations for the 2020 summer. For a list of all current child nutrition program waivers, please visit the Food and Nutrition COVID-19 Resources webpage.

Program Application

  • The 2020 (calendar year) summer food program applications are now available in the Cyber-Linked Interactive Child Nutrition System (CLiCS). Select Program Year 2021 when applying.
  • Application instructions are available on the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Applications webpage for sponsors that are currently operating SFSP sites and want to operate beyond June 30, and sponsors not currently operating under the COVID-19 waivers.
  • Sponsors with sites approved in the month of May 2020 that want to operate to June 30 may continue to operate as they have been. Site applications that were approved for the month of May are approved through June 10. In order to operate after June 10, the sponsor must resubmit and update their site application(s) to extend the end date to June 30, 2020, and change the number of operating days in June.
  • Sponsors with sites approved in the month of May 2020 that want to operate after June 30 must submit an updated sponsor application and ensure that a site application is submitted in CLiCS for each location where meals will be served.
    • If a sponsor did not operate SFSP in summer 2019, but would like to participate in July or August 2020, they must fill out the Summer Food Service Program Interest Survey.
    • Sites operating after June 30 must meet SFSP eligibility requirements. For example, they must be located in an eligible area based on school or census data or, if operating as closed enrolled in an ineligible area, the site must maintain enrollment information and ensure that over 50 percent of the children attending the site are eligible for free/reduced-price meals.
    • Sites operating after June 30 must have a site 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.
    • Sites delivering meals on bus/van routes: Sites that meet SFSP eligibility requirements can deliver meals to locations within the site’s eligible area. To locate school- or census-eligible areas, view the Child Nutrition Program Eligibility Map.
  • Sponsors that have not been operating SFSP under the COVID-19 waivers over the past few months should update their sponsor and site applications as soon as possible so they can be approved to operate this summer.
  • New this year: On the site application, the Summer School check-box has been changed to yes/no radio dots; mark the appropriate radio dot for the site. See below for additional information on summer school sites.
  • Reminders about application approval:
    • Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis, once both a sponsor and a site application(s) have been submitted in Cyber-Linked Interactive Child Nutrition System (CLiCS).
    • Approval of a complete and correct application may take up to 30 days. Submit applications as early as possible to ensure they are approved timely.
    • Sponsor and site applications must be submitted before meal service begins. Submission of a site application does not guarantee approval.
  • Not planning to renew your SFSP application this summer? Please send a message to and let us know the reason.

Back to top

Summer School Site Reminders

  • Sites with summer school that participate in SFSP must operate as open sites.
    • The site must be located in an eligible area to participate as an open site and must be open to serving children in the surrounding community; meal service cannot be limited to attending summer school students.
    • Sites may only participate in SFSP as "restricted open" sites if site participation needs to be limited due to reasons of space, security, safety, or control.
  • Sites with summer school that do not want to operate as open sites, or are not located in an eligible area and therefore cannot participate in SFSP as open sites, may continue to claim summer school meals under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Meals served under NSLP must be claimed under the free, reduced-price, and full-paid categories, as they are during the school year.
  • How do you know if a program is considered summer school? Academic summer programs funded by state education revenue are considered summer school. For example, targeted services, alternative learning programs, programs offered for students to earn credits, etc., are examples of summer school.
  • Examples of programs that are not summer school include summer camps, summer child care, community education or other enrichment programs, etc.
  • School sites not offering summer school may participate in SFSP as open, closed, or camp, as appropriate.

Back to top

Training Opportunities – eLearning option available again this year!

SFSP training is offered online, so sponsors and staff can access it at any time.

Sponsors must keep up with current SFSP rules and regulations and provide training to staff on SFSP program updates and operational requirements. Documentation of staff training must be maintained to show dates of training and topics discussed.

Note: The online SFSP training provides information for regular SFSP operations. Due to the COVID-19 situation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has released waivers, which have changed some of the regular operations. Please visit the Food and Nutrition COVID-19 Resources webpage for the most up-to-date information.

The following courses can be accessed from the SFSP Training webpage.

  • Planning and Administering the SFSP 2020 (also known as MDE – 100) includes 19 interactive courses, each about 10-15 minutes long.
  • SFSP Annual Refresher Training 2020 (also known as MDE – 170) includes three short courses, one of which is a shortened version of the Civil Rights course (one hour).
  • Civil Rights (45 minutes).
  • Menu Building Basics – (also known as MDE – 522) Utilizing Child Nutrition (CN) Labels and USDA Recipes to Build a Cycle Menu (one hour).  
  • SFSP Meal Planning for Summer Success! (one hour).

Back to top

Sponsor Monitoring Requirements

USDA has issued a Nationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements for Sponsoring Organizations in the Summer Food Service Program which extends through June 30, 2020. This waiver encourages SFSP-sponsoring organizations, to the maximum extent practicable, to continue monitoring activities of program operations offsite (e.g., through a desk audit). MDE has submitted a request to USDA to extend this waiver through the summer months.

Back to top

2020 Reimbursement Rates

SFSP reimbursement rates for calendar year 2020 can be found on the 2020 SFSP Reimbursement Rates information sheet.

Back to top

2020 Adult Meal Prices

View the 2020 Adult Meal Prices and Guidance on offering adult meals in the SFSP.

Back to top

Program Regulations and Guidance

  • Current SFSP program regulations (7 CFR 225) are available for you to view on the U.S. Government Printing Office website.
  • Program Guidance is available in the program handbooks, which are available on the USDA website. Note: Past years’ versions are still current as no updates have been made.

Back to top

Determining Site Eligibility

To participate in the SFSP, the location where meals are served (the site) must meet one of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be located in an eligible area based on census or school data.
  • Serve an identified group of children where over 50 percent of the children qualify for free/reduced-price meals.
  • Be a residential or day camp.
  • Be a certified migrant site, an eligible tribal site or a housing authority site.
  • Qualify as eligible due to a special situation.

For details on determining site eligibility, view Site Eligibility for the SFSP. You may also refer to the site eligibility information in the USDA Summer Food Program Administrative Guidance on Pages 12-22.


Special Situations

Establishing eligibility of a site located in an area that is not eligible

In certain situations, a site that is not located in an eligible area, but is serving children in need may be able to establish eligibility using other data. To establish eligibility, a sponsor must provide an explanation about why the sponsor believes that site should be approved and provide additional documentation to show how it meets the eligibility requirements of an SFSP site. This documentation must be submitted in the CLiCS site application under question 3. Select “based on public data.” If you have any questions about the use of other data, contact us for suggestions. You may also refer to the Summer Food Program Administrative Guidance and refer to site eligibility on Pages 12-22.

Back to top

School Food Authorities (SFAs) – Submit a Request for Health Inspection Funds

  • SFAs can request reimbursement for the cost of the second health inspection conducted at schools that are approved to participate in SFSP during the current year.
  • Requests must be submitted by September 1, 2020.
  • For additional information, and to request reimbursement, check out the Reimbursement for Health Inspection Funds form.

Back to top

department of education

Manage Preferences  |  Unsubscribe  |  FNS Bulletin Archive  |  Website