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CNP COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions


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Summary

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has authorized federal and state specific waivers intended to provide temporary flexibilities to certain regulatory requirements of the Child Nutrition Programs (CNP). The California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division (NSD) is providing frequently asked questions (FAQ) to help clarify both state and federal policy and operational questions for the program operators in the CNPs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The following FAQs can assist program operators who may have questions on how to operate their programs based on the policy guidance released.

Frequently Asked Questions

[Help]

  1. What are options around helping with the distribution of meals?
    Schools, community organizations, and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Operators approved to operate meal service flexibilities during COVID-19, can offer noncongregate meal service at schools and non-school sites. Some schools and child and adult day care centers are serving noncongregate meals, some examples of noncongregate meal service are grab-and go meals through walk up or drive through service. CNP Operators that have the capacity to meet the food safety requirements can distribute meals for multiple days. The Resources section includes sample menus using shelf-stable items.
  2. How can food vendors and companies help?
    Schools or other community organizations can contract with food vendors or other similar companies to provide meals. A CNP Operator can conduct a noncompetitive procurement in the event of an emergency such as COVID-19. Emergency is defined as a “sudden, unexpected occurrence that poses a clear and imminent danger, requiring immediate action to prevent or mitigate the loss or impairment of life, health, property, or essential public services.” (California Public Contract Code Section 1102). COVID-19 meets this definition.
  3. In order to receive reimbursement, is it required to have children present at the time of meal distribution?
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended the Parent Meal Pickup Waiver for the duration of School Year (SY) 2020–21 for National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), CACFP and until December 31, 2020, for Seamless Summer Option (SSO) and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The Parent Meal Pick-up Waiver allows eligible program operators to distribute meals to a parent or guardian to take home to their children. However, program operators must have a written plan/procedure in place and retain accurate records of the meals served under the waiver and report to the CDE NSD at the conclusion of the COVID-19 emergency feeding
  4. Can CNP Operators allow children to pick up multiple days of meals at a time?
    Yes. The USDA waiver allows for CNP Operators to provide multiple meals, up to one week at a time to children.
  5. Should schools be providing meals to students 18–22 that have an Individualized Educational Program (IEP) during emergency meal service?
    Yes. All students over age 18 that are enrolled in school and who meet the state agency’s definition of disabled, may receive meals under CNPs. Some districts are ensuring food service staff at the meal sites are aware of the written medical statements or the IEP/nutrition plan so that students are receiving appropriate and safe meals. Also, staff need to ensure that Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy protocols are followed. One suggestion might be for school staff to provide copies of medical statements or the IEP/nutrition plan in a binder that is available to staff at all feeding sites.
  6. Do I have to accommodate special diets during the COVID-19?

    Yes. Local educational agencies (LEA) are required to ensure students with special needs have equal opportunity to participate in or benefit from the school meals program. All persons in the community who are 18 years of age and under and those persons over age 18 who meet the state agency’s definition of mentally or physically disabled may receive meals under the CNPs.

    Below are options that other districts have implemented as a result of the COVID-19 waiver process:

    • Have completed/signed written medical statements or the IEP/nutrition plan at feeding sites to confirm the students are receiving appropriate and safe meals. Also, ensure that HIPAA privacy protocols are followed. Suggestion: Copies of medical statements or the IEP/nutrition plan put in a binder that is available to staff at all your feeding sites.

    • If viable, home delivery can be an option. Refer to the USDA COVID-19 SFSP and SSO Meal Delivery Using Existing Authority Question & Answer web document External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

    • Distributing multiple days’ worth of meals (i.e., five days of meals) is possible for your special needs’ students.
  7. Will meal pattern waivers affect a program operator’s responsibility to make meal modifications for participants with disabilities?
    No. During this public health emergency, program operators are not relieved of their obligation to provide meal modifications for participants with disabilities. When planning a noncongregate meal service, program operators should consider how individuals who require meal modifications will be identified and served.
  8. Can you provide some successful strategies regarding how to distribute multiple days of meals in one transaction? Staff and families are concerned and want to limit exposure as much as possible.
    The strategies can vary by each district. When distributing multiple meals at a time, your district should take steps to ensure that local health department COVID-19 guidelines and food safety requirements are being met. The Resource section includes a link to the California Department of Public Health COVID-19 school guidance and fact sheets for food handling. You must also consider how you will ensure program integrity to prevent meals being distributed to the same child from more than one site. These assurances should demonstrate that you have taken some safeguards to protect program integrity. The program operator must have written documentation of their processes and procedures for providing multiple meals. An example could include having sign in sheet with days of meals provided.
  9. If I am not able to meet the meal pattern requirements, for example the vegetable subgroups, what do I do?

    All CNP Operators that are unable to meet one or more meal pattern requirements in efforts to support access to nutritious meal while minimizing potential exposure to COVID-19, may apply for a meal pattern waiver. The CNP Operator must complete the online Meal Pattern Waiver Application. Once a CNP Operator submits the application, the CDE will send an email notification that the waiver request was approved. The meal pattern flexibility waiver will remain in effect as needed through June 30, 2021. CNP Operators may email the CNP Meal Pattern Waiver team at CNPMealPatternWaiver@cde.ca.gov with additional questions regarding the meal pattern.

  10. Is the option to allow parents and guardians to pick up meals for children mandatory?

    No, this is a local CNP Operator decision.

  11. What are some methods that my agency can implement to meet the program integrity requirements of the parent pick-up waiver?

    The processes that each agency puts into place will be unique in order to meet their local needs. Some general recommendations could include:

    • Use a point-of-sale system for meals that are picked up by parents and guardians.

    • Request that a parent or guardian provide their students identification number at time of pickup.

    • Request that a parent or guardian identify the age, grade, and classroom teacher of the children they are picking up meals for.

    • Only offer parent meal pickup at select site locations.

    • Only offer parent meal pickup in conjunction with providing meals for multiple days. This approach, when combined with only offering parent meal pickup at select sites helps reduce concerns with program integrity.
  12. What are the reporting requirements for the parent pick-up waiver?

    The CDE will collect information from sponsors using this waiver and other COVID-19 waivers during our midyear assessment, which will be released in the Winter 2020. Sponsors must keep accurate records of their waiver requests and the meals served under these waivers and have written plans in place.

  13. How do I submit for claims for Seamless Summer in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS)?

    The instructions for SSO claim reimbursement entry start on page 57 of the CNIPS School Nutrition Programs (SNP) User Manual. The manual can be downloaded directly online from the CDE SNP CNIPS training web page.

    Additional claims assistance is available on the CDE Fiscal Nutrition Services web page. For frequently asked questions, please visit the SSO FAQ web page.

  14. What agency should I contact if I suspect price fixing, or other price manipulations associated with the COVID-19 pandemic for wholesale commodities?

    For any suspected price manipulation of meat and poultry commodities, a school food authority (SFA) should contact the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Packers and Stockyards Division at psdcomplaints@usda.gov.

    For all other wholesale commodities, you should contact the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). More information can be found at the DOJ website External link opens in new window or tab. and the FTC website External link opens in new window or tab.. You may also submit a complaint directly to the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division by visiting the Citizen Complaint Center web page External link opens in new window or tab..

  15. What agency should I contact if I suspect price gouging associated with the COVID-19 pandemic at the retail level for consumers?

    You should contact the California State Attorney General Consumer Complaint Against a Business/Company web page External link opens in new window or tab.. More information can be found on the Consumer Resources website External link opens in new window or tab., which provides a host of consumer protection information from the state and territory attorneys general, including actions attorneys general are taking to protect consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Department of Justice created a task force to address COVID-19 related market manipulation, hoarding, and price gouging. More information about the Department of Justice’s efforts, visit the Department of Justice Coronavirus Response web page External link opens in new window or tab. and to access the memorandum that created the task force, select the Memorandum for All Heads of Department Components and Law
    Enforcement Agencies External link opens in new window or tab.
    .

  16. If a CNP Operator has limited time to conduct a procurement due to a sudden supply chain disruption resulting directly from COVID-19, are they allowed to conduct a noncompetitive procurement under the regulations in Title 2, Code of Federal Regulations (2 CFR), Section 200.320(f)(2) that allow procurement by noncompetitive proposals during public emergencies?

    Yes. The COVID-19 pandemic meets the regulatory intent of an emergency. Therefore, CNP Operators experiencing supply chain disruptions arising directly from COVID-19 may conduct a noncompetitive procurement.

    Example: A CNP Operator contracted with a milk vendor prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to supply chain disruptions, the vendor is not able to meet their contractual obligation. Under 2 CFR, Section 200.320(f)(2), the CNP Operator may conduct a noncompetitive procurement with another milk vendor to ensure that there is no disruption to the meal service. Please note: The USDA clarified that the use of this regulatory provision should not result in a contract that exceeds one year in duration.

    As a reminder, CNP Operators must continue to document procurement details and maintain those records for the appropriate allotment of time

  17. Should all purchase under the Emergency Noncompetitive Solicitation be tracked using the typical vendor tracking sheet with a note of which exemption was used?

    Yes. Federal regulations require the procuring agency to document how they performed their procurement, including their reasoning for the use of competitive procurement exceptions.

  18. What level of declaration would need to be made that would end the use of Emergency Noncompetitive solicitations?

    Since CNPs are federal programs, it would be when the public health emergency declaration has expired. However, the CDE understands that because an emergency has passed, the after-effects upon the supply chain may not have ended. If a CNP Operator concludes that the Emergency Noncompetitive Solicitation is still needed, they should first contact the CDE at SFSContracts@cde.ca.gov.

  19. What are the requirements for initiating home meal delivery for a household?

    Schools must first obtain written consent from households of eligible children (this could include email or other electronic means) that the household wants to receive delivered meals. In addition, schools should confirm the household’s current contact information and the number of eligible children in the household to ensure the correct number of meals are delivered to the correct location.

  20. Can a school district partner with an outside organization to deliver meals to student homes?

    Yes, however, the school must be the entity that makes the first contact about meal delivery with the households of eligible children, and must notify the household if contact information will be shared with an external organization. Once the school receives written consent from the parent or guardian to release contact information, the schools may share the information with other organizations involved with meal delivery.

  21. What are the requirements for using a private vendor to deliver meals to student homes?

    If the school is using a private vendor, then they must have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the vendor concerning the confidentiality requirements. The MOU should include information such as what will be disclosed, how the information will be used, how the information will be protected from unauthorized uses and disclosures, and penalties for unauthorized disclosure. The school must ensure data is handled appropriately at all times and by all organizations involved with meal delivery to safeguard household confidentiality.

  22. Do MOUs or interagency agreements (IA) between two SFAs for meal service need to be competitively solicited?

    No. Federal policy guidance encourages schools to contract with other schools in order to foster greater economy and efficiency.

  23. How detailed should an MOU or IA be?

    There are no federal requirements for what should be in a MOU or IA. However, since this is a legal document intended to hold at least two parties to specific duties, the agreement should have the following information:

    • Term date

    • Terms and conditions for meal delivery
      • Number of meals
      • Type of meal(s)–lunch, breakfast, etc.
      • Where will the meals be delivered
      • Delivery schedule–once per day, five days per week (excepting holidays)

    • Consideration–how much will be paid per meal

    • Identification of the parties to the agreement and a signature by an authorized agent for each party

    • All contracts in excess of $10,000 must have a clause that addresses termination for cause and for convenience.

    For additional information, SFAs should contact the SFSContracts@cde.ca.gov for additional information.

  24. May Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) Operators provide the fruit or vegetable service outside of a regular school day?

    Yes. Under COVID-19, elementary schools operating FFVP may serve fresh fruits and vegetables to students at the time the operators determine to be appropriate.

  25. May FFVP Operators provide the fruit or vegetable service in a noncongregate setting?

    Yes. Under COVID-19, elementary schools operating FFVP may serve fresh fruits and vegetables in a noncongregate setting, including through home delivery

  26. May the FFVP fruit or vegetable service be provided at the same time as another CNP meal service?

    Yes. Under COVID-19, elementary schools operating FFVP may provide the FFVP service alongside other CNP meals. This means that elementary schools that are operating other CNPs during an unanticipated school closure, such as the SFSP, or the NSLP SSO, may provide FFVP foods along with SFSP or SSO meals at the same time.

  27. Does CACFP allow meal deliveries and, if so, what is the process?

    Yes. The process for meal delivery is:

    • Submit a written request for approval to provide meal deliveries by email to your CDE NSD CACFP specialist to do meal deliveries.

    • Contact and receive written consent from the household of enrolled children and adult participants. At this time, the sponsor must also:

      • Confirm the location of the meal delivery, and

      • Inform the household that their contact information will be shared with an external organization (if applicable)

    • After written consent from the parent or guardian or adult participant to release contact information, then the information may be shared with other organizations involved with the meal delivery. The CACFP operator must have a MOU with the vendor concerning confidentiality requirements, e.g., what can be disclosed, how the information may be used, how the information will be protected, and penalties for unauthorized disclosure.

    • The CACFP Operator must ensure the data is handled appropriately at all times and by all organizations involved with meal delivery to safeguard household confidentiality.
  28. Does the child or adult CACFP participant need to present for home meal delivery?

    No. As long as the CACFP Operator has received the household’s written consent and verified the address, the child or adult participant does not need to be present. If the meals are shelf-stable, then no one needs to be present. However, the CACFP Operator should always be mindful of California and local food safety requirements and best practices.

  29. Are sponsors able to serve meals and snacks at the same site from multiple CNPs?

    Yes. If one sponsor is approved to operate multiple CNPs at one site, or is sharing a site with another sponsor operating a different CNP, all meals and snacks eligible under each CNP is allowable may be served at the site to each child or adult eligible under the CNP rules. The sponsor(s) serving meals at the site must have procedures in place to ensure that only eligible children under each program receive a meal(s) at the appropriate meal service times (as applicable).

    For example, a CNP sponsor is approved to operate both SFSP and CACFP At-risk Program. If the SFSP site is an Open Site then all children coming to the site are eligible to receive up to two meals, or one meal and one snack in any combination except lunch and supper. The CACFP at-risk site can only serve meals to children enrolled at the school, unless the site allows drop-ins. The program allows for one meal or one snack per day per child. The sponsor, under the SFSP rules, can serve each child coming to the site up to two meals per day; however, they must have procedures in place to ensure that only the children enrolled in the At-risk Program receive an extra meal or snack

  30. In CACFP, can children or adult participants, pick up multiple meals at the same time?

    Yes. Note that program operators must have a written plan/procedure in place and retain accurate records of the meals served to report to the CDE NSD at the conclusion of the COVID-19 emergency feeding or during the midyear assessment.

  31. Do you need to have And Justice for All (AJFA) posters on mobile routes for COVID-19 meal distribution?

    Yes. The AJFA poster must be prominently displayed in all facilities and locations that distribute program benefits or administer services. Due to COVID-19, if printed AJFA posters are not available for display, paper copies may be substituted as necessary, including use of the 2015 AJFA poster, if new (2019) posters have not been received. Meals delivered from stationary vans or buses should display the AJFA poster. For vehicles making door-to-door drop deliveries at homes and businesses, the AJFA poster does not need to be displayed.

  32. What is the maximum number of program meals and snacks that can be claimed for reimbursement each day?

    Many program operators participate in multiple programs. Under the federal waivers, a child may still participate in more than one program, but in no circumstances shall a child receive more than the number of meals allowed in each program for which they are eligible. The maximum number of meals that may be served by each program type is as follows:

    • NSLP: Up to one lunch per child per day

    • NSLP Afterschool Snack Service: Up to one snack, per child, per day

    • NSLP Seamless Summer Option: Up to two meals, or one meal and one snack, per child, per day, in any combination except lunch and supper

    • SBP: Up to one breakfast per child, per day

    • CACFP: Up to two meals and one snack, or two snacks and one meal, per child or adult participant, per day

    • CACFP At-risk Afterschool Meals Component: Up to one meal and one snack, per child, per day

    • CACFP Emergency Shelters: Up to three meals per resident 18 years and younger, per day

    • SFSP: Up to two meals, or one meal and one snack, per child, per day in any combination except lunch and supper
  33. Will my administrative review still occur this year?

    If your agency is on the SNP Administrative Reviews (AR) in 2020–21 cycle and are operating SSO or SFSP through December 2020, your review will not be scheduled until after January 2021. Please work closely with your Child Nutrition Consultant (CNC) or Child Nutrition Assistant (CNA) to coordinate a date that works best for your SFA. If the rescheduled date cannot be met due to circumstances related to COVID 19 or a natural disaster, your review may be moved to next year on a case-by-case basis.

    CACFP ARs can be rescheduled to a later date within the review year. Please work closely with your CNC or CNA to coordinate a date that works best for your Agency.

    Please Note: The SNP and CACFP ARs will be completed off-site with the exception of the meal observation.

  34. Because July 1, 2020, will be six years after I contracted with a food service management company (FSMC) I will need to solicit for a new FSMC contract. Due to COVID-19, I will not be able to competitively solicit for a new FSMC contract. Can I do a noncompetitive procurement for a one-year contract?

    Yes. On April 24, 2020, the USDA issued the FSMC Contract Duration Waiver. The waiver temporarily removes the regulatory restrictions limiting FSMC contracts to one base year plus a maximum of four one-year extensions. Therefore, sponsors may use the emergency noncompetitive procurement to negotiate a one-year FSMC extension of new contract for SY 2020–21. Contracts resulting from noncompetitive proposals may not exercise renewal options.

  35. If I use the emergency noncompetitive proposal for a new one-year FSMC contract, do I need to still receive CDE prior approval for the FSMC contract?

    Yes. The USDA FSMC Contract Duration Waiver does not remove the requirement for the sponsor to receive state agency pre-approval. More information regarding the FSMC pre-approval process is on the CDE Procurement in SNPs web page. For a copy of the CDE Model Fixed-price FSMC Contract go to the CNIPS Download Forms section and upload Form ID No. PRU 07.

  36. If my FSMC contract does not allow for additional extensions, do I need to rebid or can I extend the FSMC contract?

    The USDA FSMC Contract Duration Waiver only removes the regulatory restriction of extending a contract beyond the four one-year extensions. The CDE recommends working closely with your agency legal counsel to discuss options including the viability of an emergency noncompetitive proposal for one-year.

  37. Why is CACFP not included in the FSMC contract Nationwide Waiver #19?

    CACFP was not included in the COVID-19 Nationwide Waiver #19 because CACFP regulations do not have a five-year limit on FSMC contracts. The NSLP and SFSP regulations, on the other hand, do limit the FSMC contract to a maximum of five years and the waiver was intended to allow program operators to extend their contractual relationships without having to competitively resolicit for a new FSMC contract.

    However, CACFP Operators are permitted to enter into a noncompetitive solicitation under Title 2 CFR, Section 200.320(f)(2); if applicable. Please note that similarly to the Waiver #19, any noncompetitively solicited contract will be limited to no more than one year in duration.

  38. Can Head Start programs deliver meals to children enrolled in the home-based program option?

    Yes, if a child was receiving meals through either or both of these programs, then they can continue to receive meals. If a child was not receiving meals through the CACFP and/or NSLP, then the child is not eligible to receive meals through the CACFP and/or NSLP. However, children may go to an SFSP or SSO open site to receive a free meal. To locate SFSP and SSO sites in your community, download the CA Meals for Kids mobile app. The app is available for free download through Apple’s App Store External link opens in new window or tab., Google’s Play Store External link opens in new window or tab., and Microsoft’s App Store External link opens in new window or tab..

  39. Can CACFP sponsoring organizations add new centers and facilities during the COVID-19 emergency?

    Yes. Sponsoring organizations can add new centers and day care homes that are providing care during the coronavirus pandemic. However, sponsoring organizations must complete all aspects of the application and approval process. It is up to each sponsor to determine if they have the capacity to add centers and facilities based on their systems and other resources, such as the availability of inspections and licensing.

  40. What should I do if my school district is unable to obtain a second food safety inspection from our local county health department due to COVID-19?

    School districts are required to request two food safety inspections from their local county health departments each school year. If you are unable to obtain two food safety inspections, please retain documentation demonstrating that you made every effort to obtain an inspection. COVID-19 will be considered as an acceptable reason as to why a district was not able to obtain two food safety inspections during SY 2019–20.

  41. What documentation must a sponsor have during an AR if they are unable to obtain a food safety inspection during COVID-19 the emergency?

    If a sponsor is unable to obtain a food safety inspection because the state or local health department has suspended inspections due to the COVID-19 emergency, a sponsor would need documentation (e.g., a letter) from the health department that these inspections have been suspended. If the sponsor was unable to obtain a food safety inspection because the sponsor is closed, the sponsor would just need to show that the sponsor was closed and therefore unable to obtain the food safety inspection. Both of these circumstances are outside the control of the sponsor and therefore would not be held against them during an AR.

  42. Does the State Meal Mandate apply in instances in which a child participates in instruction by distance learning?

    Yes. Section 34 of the Budget Bill amended California Education Code (EC) Section 49550 and EC Section 47613.5 to add distance learning as an instructional model and requires school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to provide nutritionally adequate meals for pupils who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals whether engaged in in-person instruction or distance learning. For more information, please review the Senate Bill 98 State Meal Mandate web page.

  43. A charter school is not providing meals directly to their students at this time, but rather directing them to open, community feeding sites in their attendance area. Is the charter school meeting the state meal mandate requirement in this scenario?

    No, EC sections 49550 and 47613.5 state that a “school district, county superintendent of schools and charter school shall provide each needy pupil with one nutritionally adequate free or reduced-price meal during each school day…”. This requirement is not met by a charter school directing a needy pupil to a community feeding site. The charter school is the entity that is required to provide one nutritionally adequate free or reduced-priced meal to a needy pupil.

  44. School districts are providing bulk meal distribution, one day a week to all of their students. During this distribution, they provide meals for the entire week (Monday-Friday). Some students attend classes in person through a hybrid learning model. Is a school also required to provide a meal to the children when on campus even if it has already provided meals through bulk distribution?

    Yes, a school is required to provide a meal to the children when on campus even if the children have already been provided meals through bulk distribution. Education Code sections 49550 and 47613.5 state that a “school district, county superintendent of schools and charter school shall provide each needy pupil with one nutritionally adequate free or reduced-price meal during each school day…” Food Services should consider providing meals to those students on campus while following social distancing practices and meals to go for the students engaged in distance learning. To-go meals may be distributed through bulk distribution.

  45. Can we continue to pay food service employees with the cafeteria fund (also known as the nonprofit school food service account) while on leave due to school site closure?

    Yes. Cafeteria funds may be used to pay for employee leave during school closure due to COVID-19. Such funds may be used to support salaries and wages for those employees that consistently support CNPs when school is in session.

    Timekeeping documentation during the COVID-19 period should be consistent with the type of documentation the employees would typically complete when school is in session (semi-annual certification or Personnel Action Report). In addition, the documentation should be consistent with employee's regular work hours when school is in session, but contain the notation COVID-19 for the absence period.

    Should an LEA receive disaster funds for lost salaries and wages and other costs, the cafeteria fund should be replenished accordingly when funds are received. For more information about disaster assistance, please see the CDE Disaster Response–Child Nutrition Programs web page. For questions about employee timekeeping, please reach out to the Resource Management Unit at SNPCafeFundQuestions@cde.ca.gov.

  46. What options do districts have to pay employees working to support SSO or SFSP during COVID-19?

    LEAs can use the reimbursement monies received for claiming meals served to pay for employee’s salaries.

  47. Is the purchase of personal protective equipment or other supplies that are intended to prevent or reduce the spread of COVID-19 an allowable cost?

    Yes. Personal protective equipment (e.g., surgical masks, cloth masks, face masks, gloves) as well as cleaning and sanitary supplies are allowable costs during the current public health emergency, provided that such purchases are made in support of CNP operations. All purchases must continue to meet the required criteria of being reasonable, allocable, and necessary.

  48. May funds from the nonprofit food service account be used to cover meal delivery costs and/or the purchase of supplies to facilitate noncongregate meal service during the public health emergency?

    Yes. Expenses related to meal delivery and/or provision of meals in noncongregate settings are allowable costs. All purchases must continue to meet the required criteria of being reasonable, allocable, and necessary.

  49. May funds from the nonprofit food service account be used to purchase bottled water (as an alternative to water fountains and other on-site options) for noncongregate meals served during the public health emergency?

    Yes. The purchase of potable water to supplement meals served in noncongregate settings is an allowable cost. For further information, please refer to USDA Policy Memoranda SP 28-2011: Water Availability During NSLP Meal Service, CACFP 20-2016: Water Availability in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, and SP 49-2016, CACFP 18-2016: Resources for Making Potable Water Available in Schools and Child Care Facilities. Milk is expected to be served as part of each reimbursable meal and potable water may not be provided as a substitute for milk.

  50. May sponsors pay staff salaries using funds from the nonprofit foodservice account when employees are unable to work due to mandatory closures related to the current public health emergency? Is compensation in the form of hazard pay for employees who are still working also allowable?

    Yes, but only when such employee absences are covered under the sponsor’s established personnel policies. The USDA has determined that sponsors with such policies may continue to pay out salaries and benefits to their employees during mandatory closures due to COVID-19, which qualify as an “authorized absence from the job” for affected employees in accordance with the requirements of 2 CFR, Section 200.431(b). These payments must be consistent with the sponsor’s policy of paying salaries (under extraordinary circumstances) from all funding sources, federal and nonfederal, and must be fully allocable. Compensation in the form of hazard pay for employees continuing to work is further considered an allowable cost, provided that such compensation is similarly permissible under the sponsor’s personnel policies, and the hazard pay in question is reasonable.

    Any of these covered personnel costs may be charged retroactively to the date upon which mandated staff absences and/or work that occurred when the hazardous conditions related to COVID-19 began. Sponsors may draft a new personnel policy if they don’t have an existing one in place covering leave, salaries, and benefits during unexpected and extraordinary circumstances. Any new or updated policies must be fully in accordance with federal program regulations, and consistent in their payment of salaries and benefits regardless of the funding sources used/available.

  51. How should sponsors approved to operate any of the CNPs treat nonrefundable costs for events and activities that were canceled due to COVID-19 closures and social distancing protocols?

    If the sponsor expended funds for an approved and otherwise allowable cost (e.g., travel, meeting registration, supplies) for an event or activity that was cancelled due to the COVID-19 closures, and those costs were not refunded by the vendor, the sponsor may charge those costs to their program. Sponsors should keep records of the original expense, and their attempt to obtain refunds. Sponsors should also ensure that any materials of value, such as travel vouchers, supplies, materials, etc., that can be repurposed or used at a later date, are used for the operation of the CNP or a related activity. This flexibility applies only to costs incurred prior to March 17, 2020.

  52. How do I apply for COVID-19 Disaster Reimbursement?

    Please visit the Application for COVID-19 Disaster Relief web page. This page includes instructions for submitting a disaster reimbursement request. For specific questions related to your disaster claim, please contact the CDE by email at NSDDisasterClaims@cde.ca.gov.

 

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Thursday, October 22, 2020
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    Attachment to the Use of FRPM Data for Funding Purposes letter. Provides requirements for collecting free and reduced-price meal eligibility data used to determine supplemental and concentration grant funding based on meal program type.
  • COVID-19 Required Reporting CNP Assessment (added 20-Nov-2020)
    The USDA requires assessment information on the effectiveness of the waivers in providing improved services to program participants. The CDE NSD is requiring that program operators complete the CDE COVID-19 CNP Waivers Assessment survey.
  • 2020–21 CACFP Mandatory Training (added 20-Nov-2020)
    Announcement for the 2020–21 Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Mandatory Training.

  • Annual Sponsor Verification Report for 2020–21 (added 20-Nov-2020)
    On November 2, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) extended the School Food Authority (SFA) deadline to complete verification to February 28, 2021.
  • Funding Opportunity: Farm to School Grants (added 19-Nov-2020)
    CDE Nutrition Services Division is pleased to announce that the USDA has released their Request for Applications for $10 million in Farm to School grants to create and strengthen F2S programs for Federal Fiscal Year 2021.
  • MB: California State Meal Mandate (added 17-Nov-2020)
    Management Bulletin (MB) SNP-11-2020 California State Meal Mandate, is available and supersedes Management Bulletin NSD-SNP-01-2009 (December 2009).
  • October 20, 2020 Tuesday at 2 Webinar (added 17-Nov-2020)
    California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division (NSD) hosted the twelfth Tuesday @ 2 School Nutrition Town Hall webinar on October 20, 2020.
  • California's State Meal Mandate (added 16-Nov-2020)
    California's State Meal Mandate - 2020 Noncongregate Feeding Guidance.