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U.S. Department of Agriculture Waiver Request

Information about the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) waiver request protocol for Child Nutrition Programs (CNP).
Important Notice: CACFP Program Moved to CDSS

The Early Childhood Development Act of 2020 (Senate Bill (SB) 98, Chapter 24, Statutes of 2020) authorized the transfer of child care and development programs administered by the California Department of Education to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) effective July 1, 2021. The content on this page may not be current and involves the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) that has moved to CDSS. Visit the CDSS CACFP web page External link opens in new window or tab. or call 1-833-559-2420 for more information.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Main Web Page

General Information

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service established a waiver request protocol for certain Child Nutrition Programs (CNP) statutory or regulatory requirements. The CNPs include the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the NSLP Seamless Summer Option (SSO), the School Breakfast Program (SBP), the Afterschool Meal Supplement, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP), and the Special Milk Program.

For more information, please see the USDA Policy Memorandum SP 15-2018, CACFP 12-2018, SFSP 05-2018 Child Nutrition Program Waiver Request Guidance and Protocol Revised External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

Current Waiver Requests for the Nutrition Services Division

  1. The California Department of Education (CDE) is requesting a waiver for School Nutrition Program (SNP) Operators of the NSLP and SBP affected by COVID-19. Considering the current health and safety issues of dispensing potable water to students, the CDE is requesting that program operators not be required to provide potable water during meal times in the NSLP or in the cafeteria during SBP during the pandemic.

  2. The CDE is requesting a waiver for CACFP Operators affected by COVID-19. The CDE requests that program operators in good standing may conduct all monitoring visits through desk audit, with phone and/or video follow-up as needed, through August 31, 2021.

  3. The CDE is requesting a waiver for CNP Operators, in good standing, of the NSLP and the SBP that are reopening schools and meal service operations under federal, state, and local guidance on COVID-19. The CDE requests that program operators forgo the on-site monitoring requirements for the school year (SY) 2020–21 school year in order to support physical school closure orders and minimize potential exposure to COVID-19.

  4. The CDE is requesting a waiver for School Food Authority (SFAs) operating the NSLP and the SBP in good standing to allow service of meals using the SSO or the SFSP through SY 2020–21. Additionally, the sponsors utilizing the SSO or SFSP flexibility for SY 2020–21 would also be allowed to continue using the area eligibility waiver which has been in effect for California since April 2020.

  5. The CDE is requesting a waiver for program operators in good standing that operate the NSLP, SBP, CACFP, SFSP and/or SSO in Lake, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo Counties. These counties were identified in the Presidential Disaster Declaration issued on August 22, 2020. The waiver will allow meal flexibilities, parent pick up, non-congregate meal time flexibility, operation of the SSO/SFSP, and claiming at the free rate during this disaster from August 18, 2020, through the duration of the state declaration of emergency or November 2020, whichever is sooner.

  6. The CDE is requesting a waiver for CNP operators, in good standing, of the NSLP and SBP that are reopening schools and meal service operations under federal, state, and local guidance on COVID-19. The CDE requested approval to extend the claim submission deadline for meals served during the months of July, August, and September 2020 to December 31, 2020.

  7. The CDE is requesting two waivers for CNP operators of the FFVP affected by the COVID-19 in SY 2021–22. The waivers will: 1) allow an FFVP site that was closed during COVID-19 to be able to continue offering the FFVP at any site offering meals to the community, and 2) allow parents or guardians to pick up the FFVP snacks from the school site(s) without the child(ren) being in attendance.

  8. The CDE is requesting a waiver to modify the USDA Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Opt-In Waiver for SY 2020–2021 NSLP USDA Foods Entitlement Calculations in order for Food Distribution Program recipients to receive entitlement based on the higher of the last two years meals counts. This modification would provide participants the most beneficial entitlement value available in the original waiver.

  9. The CDE is requesting a waiver for CNP operators, in good standing, of the SNP and CACFP that are affected by COVID-19. The CDE requested approval to waive certain SNP Annual Review (AR) requirements in SY 2020–21, extend the SNP AR cycle to six years, and waiver the CACFP state monitoring requirement in federal fiscal year 2020–21.

  10. The CDE is requesting a waiver for SFAs in good standing who operate the NSLP and the SBP. The waiver would allow the CDE to perform a procurement review of Food Service Management Company contracts beyond the three year requirement. The waiver would be effective through June 30, 2022.

  11. The CDE is requesting a waiver that would allow the CDE to charge up to five percent of the total annual FFVP grant award towards state administrative costs.

  12. The CDE is requesting a waiver on behalf of CNP operators in good standing and who are approved to operate the NSLP, SBP, SSO, SFSP, and CACFP. The waiver would extend USDA Child Nutrition (CN) Response 37, 41, 59, 60, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, and 70 through September 30, 2021.

  13. The CDE is requesting a waiver to extend the time period provided in regulation for the review and approval of sponsor and site applications from 30 days to 60 days from June 1, 2021, to January 31, 2022.

  14. The CDE is requesting a waiver to extend the time period provided in regulation for the payment of reimbursement claims from 45 days to 90 days for claims received or due to be paid from July 1, 2021 to January 31, 2022.

  15. Upon the issuance of Waiver #93, the CDE worked with the contractor to amend its Child Nutrition Information and Payments System (CNIPS) claims module to set all tiers to the Tier I rate. The CDE, in coordination with the CDSS, is requesting this waiver due to this technological limitation for reimbursing program operators at Tier I for eligible meals served to children in their care, and reimbursement at Tier II for the program operator’s own child enrolled at the same site.

  16. The CDE requests state waiver from the SFSP on-site pre-approval visits in accordance with Title 7 Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR), Section 225.7(d)(1). If approved, the pre-approval visit would be completed remotely.

  17. The CDE is requesting a waiver to extend the current USDA COVID-19: Child Nutrition response #98, which waives the Local School Wellness Policy (LSWP) Triennial Assessment requirement, through June 30, 2023.

  18. The CDE is requesting a CNP Monitoring waiver. The waiver requests to exempt the review of most general areas during a SNP AR. In addition, the waiver requests state and local level on-site monitoring requirement for SFSP and SNP and the Buy America requirement for the SNP.

  19. The CDE is requesting a waiver on behalf of SNP Operators in good standing and who are approved to operate the NSLP and SBP. The CDE requests to modify the currently approved Local Agency Procurement Review six-year cycle waiver. The modification would replace the six-year cycle with a risk-based review.

  20. The CDE is requesting a waiver for SFSP and SSO operators affected by poor air quality due to wildfires or smog. Program operators will be required to request approval from the CDE on a case-by-case basis if the air quality in the area of their feeding site becomes a health hazard based on National Weather Service (NWS) alerts. In these instances, the CDE is requesting authority to grant approval to the affected program operators that are not seriously deficient to allow children to take their meals off-site for consumption rather than requiring congregate feeding.

  21. The CDE is requesting a waiver for CNP Operators of the NSLP utilizing the SSO and for all SFSP operators operating approved outdoor feeding sites without temperature-controlled alternative sites, experiencing excessive heat. Program operators with approved outdoor meal sites without temperature-controlled alternative sites will be able to request approval from the CDE on a case-by-case basis to operate noncongregate sites only on days when the NWS has issued a heat advisory, an excessive heat warning, or an excessive heat watch. In these instances, the CDE is requesting authority to grant approval to the affected program operators that are not seriously deficient to allow children to take their meals off-site for consumption rather than requiring congregate feeding.

  22. The CDE is requesting a waiver on behalf of SNP Operators in good standing and who are approved to operate the NSLP and SBP. The CDE requests to modify the currently approved Local Agency Procurement Review six-year cycle waiver. The modification would replace the six-year cycle with a risk-based review.

  23. The CDE is requesting a waiver which will allow program operators in affected areas to serve meals to students and allow the students to consume the meals off-site away from poor air quality areas, and additionally minimize the time program operator staff must remain at the meal service sites and prolong their exposure to toxins.

  24. The CDE is requesting a waiver for approved SFSP and SSO operators to conduct first week site visits as required by 7 CFR 225.15(d)(2).

  25. The CDE is requesting a waiver for the requirement for closed enrolled SFSP and SSO sites to collect applications for eligibility as required by 42 U.S. Code (42 U.S.C.) 1761(a)(1)(A)(i)(III) and 7 CFR 225.15(f).

  26. The CDE is requesting a waiver for meal service restrictions requirements for SFSP and SSO operators are required by 7 CFR 225.16(c)(1) and (c)(2).

  27. The CDE is requesting a waiver for program operators in good standing who are operating the SNP and want to apply for Community Eligibility Program (CEP) in SY 2022–23. The waiver would allow SNP operators to obtain Identified Student Percentage data anytime between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.

  28. The CDE is requesting Non-Congregate Feeding and Meal Time Flexibility waivers for School Nutrition Program Operators to provide two meals during shortened school days of four hours or less in SY 2022–23.

  29. The CDE is requesting the following Summer 2022 and SY 2022–23 CNP waivers implemented by Program Operators when congregate meal service is limited by COVID-19:
    • SFSP and SSO for Summer 2022: non-congregate meal service and parent/guardian pickup
    • NSLP and SBP for SY 2022–23: non-congregate meal service, parent/guardian pickup, meal service times, and offer-versus-serve
    • Special Milk Program for SY 2022–23: non-congregate meal service, parent/guardian pickup
    • Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for SY 2022–23: parent/guardian pickup, alternate site

  30. The CDE is requesting the following administrative and reporting requirement waivers: local school wellness policy triennial assessment, food service management company contract duration, administrative review onsite requirements, onsite requirements for SFA onsite reviews by February 1, onsite requirement for afterschool care reviews, onsite requirement for periodic onsite visits when utilizing a food service management contract, FNS-874 second (independent) review of applications, and FNS-640 administrative review data report.

  31. The CDE is requesting the following waivers during unanticipated school closures resulting from COVID-19 during SY 2022 ̶ 2023, as applied to the SFSP and SSO: non-congregate meal service, parent/guardian meal pickup, meal service times, and meals at school sites for unanticipated school closures.

  32. The CDE is requesting a waiver on behalf of CNP operators, in good standing, of the NSLP SSO and SFSP to forgo fiscal action for meal pattern violations caused by supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19. The waiver would be in effect from July 1, 2022 through September 30, 2022.

  33. The CDE is requesting a waiver on behalf of the NSLP and SBP operators who due to documented COVID-19 related issues, such as supply chain disruptions, are not able to meet the full requirements of the SBP/NSLP meal pattern standards.

  34. The CDE requests a waiver on behalf of Program Operators that utilized the SSO for meal services during the 2021–22 SY to utilize the most recent eligibility determinations available for students, including dating back to SY 2019–20, to provide 30 day carryover benefits for SY 2022–23.

  35. The CDE is requesting to waiver SFSP operators who are in good standing Offer Versus Serve Requirements at 42 U.S.C.1761(f)(7) and 7 CFR 225.16(f)(1)(ii).

  36. The CDE is requesting a waiver on behalf of SFSP operators in good standing. The CDE is requesting to waive the on-site portion of the monitoring requirement for SFSP operators.

  37. The CDE is requesting a CEP waiver on behalf of SNP operators, in good standing, approved to operate the NSLP and SBP. The CDE is requesting the authority to grant SNP sponsors with the flexibility to elect for CEP by September 30, 2022.

  38. The CDE is requesting a waiver of congregate feeding, meal time, meal pattern and offer versus serve requirements for operators of the National School Lunch and School Breakfast program in Siskiyou county due to the Mill Fire.

  39. The CDE is requesting a waiver of congregate feeding, meal time, meal pattern, offer versus serve, and parent guardian pickup requirements for operators of the National School Lunch and School Breakfast program in Riverside, El Dorado and Placer Counties due to the Fairview and Mosquito Fires.

  40. The CDE is requesting a waiver of requirements for congregate feeding, meal time, meal pattern, offer versus serve, and meal service directly to children for operators of the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs in Madera and Modoc counties due to the Fork and Barnes fires.

  41. The CDE is requesting a waiver to allow Willows Unified School District to submit a CEP application beyond the federal election deadline due to circumstances beyond their control.

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Questions:   Program Accountability Administration | 916-327-2256
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, October 18, 2022
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