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Extension of COVID-19 CNP Meal Pattern Waiver


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Main Web Page

UPDATE: On April 21, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) extended the effective date of the national waiver to allow meal pattern flexibility from April 30, 2020 to May 31, 2020. Child Nutrition Program (CNP) Operators should make every effort to meet the meal pattern requirements. Waivers are reviewed on a case-by-case and are for existing disruption.

On March 25, 2020, the USDA issued COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #4, National Waiver to Allow Meal Pattern Flexibility in the CNPs External link opens in new window or tab. as part of the COVID-19 Child Nutrition Response Act. This waiver applies to the National School Lunch Program, including the Seamless Summer Option; School Breakfast Program; Child and Adult Care Food Program; and Summer Food Service Program.

The USDA and the California Department of Education (CDE) encourage CNP Operators to meet the nutrition standards for each CNP to the greatest extent possible; however, we are aware that CNP Operators may experience shortages in the availability of some food and beverage items that contribute to a reimbursable meal. For example, CNP Operators who are required to provide whole grain-rich foods may have difficulty obtaining them due to shortages during this emergency.

The USDA requires CNP Operators to notify and provide justification to the CDE before utilizing the meal pattern flexibility provided in this waiver. CNP Operators are required to complete a streamlined application to notify and provide justification for why they cannot serve one or more food components that meet the meal pattern requirements. Please note, the application is the notification to the CDE of your intent to use the meal pattern flexibility waiver. Per the USDA, the waiver remains in effect until April 30, 2020 [New effective date is May 31, 2020] or until expiration of the federally declared public health emergency, whichever is earlier.

The meal pattern waiver application is located at Meal Pattern Waiver Application.

Once you submit the application, you will receive an email notification from the CDE on your waiver request.

Updates regarding the USDA waivers and any additional information agencies need to implement them will be posted to the CDE COVID-19 Guidance for K-12 Schools web page.

We appreciate your patience as we process waiver requests and answer your questions. Thank you again for your efforts to provide meals to our most vulnerable participants.

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact the CDE Nutrition Services Division by email at CNPMealPatternWaiver@cde.ca.gov.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Friday, April 24, 2020
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