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COVID-19 Guidance in the Child Nutrition Programs


Overview

In response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a number of nationwide federal waivers and approved state-specific requests intended to provide temporary flexibilities to certain regulatory requirements of the Child Nutrition Programs (CNP). The CNPs referenced are the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), Seamless Summer Option (SSO), School Food Service Program (SFSP), Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP). The California Department of Education (CDE) is assisting program operators of the CNPs by posting policy guidance and waivers, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). For the latest announcements and updates, visit the CDE Nutrition What’s New web page.

Background

Pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, as extended by the Continuing Appropriation Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act, and based on exceptional circumstances of the public health emergency related to COVID-19, the USDA is authorized to waive certain requirements for all federal CNPs.

As the pandemic persists, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service continues to release waivers and guidance to state agencies and program operators so that they can continue offering students nutritious and healthy meals and snacks to using appropriate safety measures.

Please refer to the CDE CNP COVID-19 Policy web page for updated information.

Policy

The USDA continues to issue multiple federal policy waivers to provide flexibility on requirements of the CNPs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The USDA has also approved state-specific waivers submitted by the CDE to further address regulatory flexibility during this time. Examples of requirements addressed in CNP waivers include: program operations, noncongregate feeding, meal service time flexibility, parent pick-up, area eligibility, meal pattern, offer versus serve (OVS), monitoring, food service management, and review requirements for state agencies.

To access the policy memos and waivers, visit the CDE COVID-19 Policy and Waivers in CNPs web page.

Child Nutrition Program Operations

Provides COVID-19 related implementation guidance for program operators of the School Nutrition Programs (SNP) that operate the NSLP and the SBP during the School Year (SY).

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has released and approved a number of federal and state-specific waivers to support SNP Operators to preserve student access to school meals and to streamline administrative requirements. As students return to in-person instruction and SNP Operators offer on-site, congregate meal service, the FNS has released additional waivers to assist with the transition.

Waiver Application Description Timeframe
Summer 2022 Child Nutrition Program (CNP) Waiver Elections Available for SSO, SFSP, NSLP, and SBP.

Includes CNP Operation waivers and Administrative waivers such as:
  • SSO and SFSP operation waivers- area eligibility, closed enrolled site eligibility, SFSP reimbursement for SSO operation, first week site visits, offer versus serve (OVS) in high school; noncongregate meals, mealtime, parent pick-up, and on-site monitoring.

  • Administrative waivers - local school wellness policy (LSWP) triennial assessment (TEA), food service management company (FSMC) contract duration, administrative review (AR) onsite requirements, and use of prior year eligibility determinations.

This waiver application is open and available through September 30, 2022.

Waiver valid dates vary; see more information below for each waiver.

Note: State-specific waivers issued for noncongregate meals, mealtime, and parent pick-up require documentation of direct impact of COVID-19 on operations to substantiate use. Federal nationwide waivers of the same topic issued early July do not require COVID-19 impact as a condition of use.

School Year (SY) 2022–23 School Nutrition Program (SNP) Waiver Elections

Available for NSLP, SBP, Special Milk Program (SMP), and FFVP, as well as SFSP and SSO in the event of unanticipated school closures.

Includes SNP Operation waivers and Administrative waivers such as:

  • SNP operation waivers- noncongregate meals, mealtime, parent pick-up, and offer versus serve

  • SNP Administrative waivers- local school wellness policy (LSWP) triennial assessment (TEA), food service management company (FSMC) contract duration, administrative review (AR) onsite requirements, and use of prior year eligibility determinations.
This waiver application is open and available through June 30, 2022.

Waiver valid dates vary; see more information below for each waiver.

SY 2022–23 Waiver Applications Summary

Once you have opted into any of the waivers listed below, they are valid for the entire 2022–2023 SY, if needed SFAs are encouraged to proactively opt into these waivers.

Waiver Applications

The California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division (NSD) received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a number of state-specific waivers. In addition, there are also nationwide waivers providing needed meal service and administrative flexibilities for SY 2022–23 operations of the:

  • National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
  • School Breakfast Program (SBP)
  • Special Milk Program (SMP)
  • Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP)
  • Seamless Summer Option (SSO)*
  • Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)*

*Note that waivers for SSO and SFSP apply only during unanticipated school closures.

While you may opt into these waivers at any time during the 2022–23 SY, the CDE recommends that School Nutrition Program (SNP) Operators proactively complete the application as soon as possible. You do not need to be experiencing an unanticipated school closure in order to opt in to those waivers, you may proactively secure these flexibilities so that they are available in the event that you need them. Additionally, you may also update your SY 2022–23 waiver selections by submitting additional applications as needed.

Participation in any waiver is optional. You may continue to operate NSLP and SBP as per regulations without the flexibilities offered through the waivers if you wish. However, you must opt into these waivers in order to use the meal service flexibilities provided.

COVID-19 Limited Use Waivers

The USDA approved state-specific waivers for noncongregate meals, parent pick-up, meal service times, and offer versus serve to support access to nutritious meals when SNP Operators are faced with meal service disruptions and challenges due COVID-19.

As a result, these state-specific waivers may only be used when a Program Operator’s meal service is limited by the COVID-19 pandemic. Limitations can include, but are not limited to the following:

  • School or site closure due to COVID-19

  • Classroom quarantine due to COVID-19

  • Student illness or quarantine due to COVID-19

  • Staff shortages due to COVID-19 illness or quarantine

  • Mandate or recommendation from national, state, or local governing body not to congregate due to COVID-19

  • Service to groups where the majority are unvaccinated (for example, immune compromised groups).

  • Documented delays in obtaining supplies and equipment due to COVID-19 that prevents the ability to provide congregate meal service
Annual Elections: Valid for the Entire 2022–23 SY

The SY 2022–23 School Nutrition Program Waiver Elections survey is currently available online and contains a number of meal service and administration waivers. This survey will be open through June 30, 2023.

You may opt into the 2022–23 SY waivers at any time and they are valid for the entire 2022–23 SY, if needed. Note that the USDA requires that the following waivers be used only when congregate meal service is limited by the COVID-19 pandemic: noncongregate meal service, meal time flexibilities, parent and guardian pick-up, and offer versus serve. More information on these “limited use” waivers can be found below.

If you use the flexibilities allowed by any waivers in your operations, you must have an integrity plan. An Integrity Plan Guide is available in the Resources tab of this web page.

The CDE NSD also wants to remind all program operators that there are procurement flexibilities provided by Title 2, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 200.320(f)(2), Noncompetitive Procurements Resulting from a Public Emergency. Also note that if these flexibilities are used, SFAs must continue to document procurements and maintain those records for the appropriate amount of time. For questions regarding this subject, contact the Procurement Resources Unit by email at SFSContracts@cde.ca.gov. Please also review the COVID-19 FAQ web page related to procurement.

Administrative Waivers

The USDA has approved a series of California (CA) state-specific waivers for SY 2022–23 to support Program Operators by reducing school nutrition program administrative workload, allowing greater time to support meal service. The administrative waivers for SY 2022–23  are listed below. 

  • Local School Wellness Policy Triennial Assessment - this waiver allows SFAs whose local school wellness policy triennial assessment is due June 30, 2022 a one-year extension to June 30, 2023.

  • Use of Prior Year Eligibility Determinations for SY 2022–23 - Provides flexibility for sites that operated SSO in SY 2021–22 . If no recent eligibility determination exists, Program Operators can utilize free and reduced-price meal data from SY 2019–20 to establish the 30-day carryover for SY 2022–23. (Valid July 1, 2022–June 30, 2023).

  • Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) Identified Student Percentage (ISP) Data - Waives the requirement for Program Operators to use April 1 data for calculating Identified Student Percentages (ISP). Program Operators may calculate ISPs using data drawn any time during the prior SY (July 1, 2021–June 30, 2022).

  • CEP Election Deadline Flexibility for SY 2022–23 -Waives the requirement for LEAs to notify the State Agency and submit Identified Student Percentage (ISP) documentation by June 30 of the current school year. Instead LEAs that intend to elect CEP for SY 2022–23 must submit ISP documentation to State agency by September 30, 2022.

Meal Service Waivers

Noncongregate Feeding

The CA state-specific waiver for noncongregate feeding is a “limited-use” waiver that supports access to nutritious meals while congregate meal service is impacted by COVID-19. The waiver is available for use in limited circumstances for NSLP, SBP and the SMP for SY 2022–23.  Additionally, a noncongregate feeding waiver has also been issued for use during unanticipated school closures occurring between October 1, 2022, and April 30, 2023. If you use the noncongregate feeding waiver flexibilities, maintain documentation of the impact of COVID-19 on your congregate meal service as well as the duration the flexibilities were used.

Home Delivery

Home delivery may still occur during SY 2022–23 under very limited circumstances, such as when congregate meal service is impacted by COVID-19 and during unanticipated school closures. Program Operators must have opted into the noncongregate meal, meal service time, and parent and guardian pick up in order to conduct home delivery of meals. Remember that an Integrity Plan is also required when these waivers are used.

Delivery of meals can be completed by delivery service or hand-delivered by school staff. This option is only available to program operators serving students of their own school sites during unanticipated school closures or while congregate meal service is impacted by COVID-19 due to student confidentiality regulations.

Before initiating a home meal delivery service, schools must obtain written consent from households of eligible children. This consent can be obtained through email or other electronic means. During this process, schools should also confirm the household’s current address and confirm the number of eligible children in the home to ensure the correct number of meals are delivered to the correct location. When address changes or updates are noted, it is advised that SFA staff update these records in both the point-of-sale system and in California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) to ensure that future meals and other benefits are sent to the correct location.

When delivering meals, schools may use a distribution approach that includes meals for multiple days. In such instances, the district should ensure that proper food safety measures and social distancing guidelines are in place. Children do not need to be present for home delivery of meals as long as the school has obtained the household’s written consent. SNP operators should always consider state and local food safety requirements and best practices.

For more information about meal delivery options, review the CDE COVID-19 FAQs web page related to Meal and Snack Distribution and Pick Up.

Meal Time Flexibilities

The CA state-specific waiver for meal service time flexibility is a “limited-use” waiver that supports access to nutritious meals while congregate meal service is directly impacted by COVID-19. A meal service time flexibility waiver has been issued for NSLP and SBP. A meal service time flexibility waiver has also been issued for use during unanticipated school closures occurring between October 1, 2022, and April 30, 2023. These flexibilities allow schools to provide meals outside of the prescribed meal service time requirements. If you use the meal service time waiver flexibilities, maintain documentation of the impact of COVID-19 on your congregate meal service as well as the duration the flexibilities were used.

Note: program operators are still required to establish meal service distribution times for each site approved in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS).

Parent or Guardian Pick-up

The CA state-specific waiver for parent or guardian pick-up is a “limited-use” waiver that supports access to nutritious meals while congregate meal service is directly impacted by COVID-19. This waiver allows eligible program operators to distribute meals to a parent or guardian to take home to their children. A parent or guardian pick-up waiver has been issued for NSLP, SBP, SMP and the FFVP. A parent or guardian pick-up waiver has also been issued for use during unanticipated school closures occurring between October 1, 2022, and April 30, 2023.

To participate in the Parent Meal Pick-up Waiver while congregate meal service is directly impacted by COVID-19 or during an unanticipated school closure, the following must be in place and retained:

  • Program operators must have a written plan to ensure they are able to maintain accountability and program integrity. (Integrity Plan Guides are available on the Resources tab of this web page.) This plan can include strategies such as using point-of-service systems, sign in sheets, requesting parent, guardian, or authorized individuals to identify the age, grade, or classroom teacher, asking for a student identification number, and posting guidelines for parents to see and follow.

  • Program operators must have a written process in place to ensure:
    1. Meals are distributed only to parents, guardians, or authorized individuals of eligible children, and
    2. Duplicate meals are not provided for any child.

Meal Pattern Flexibilities

There are no meal pattern flexibilities for SY 2022–23.  The USDA however, did release a nationwide waiver, Fiscal Action Flexibilities for Meal Pattern Violations Related to COVID-19, (Nationwide Waiver #110) External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) that provides flexibility to state agencies to not apply fiscal action for missing food components or missing production records and for repeated violations involving milk type and vegetable subgroups if the Program Operator can demonstrate that these violations are related to COVID-19 supply chain disruptions. If your agency is experiencing supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 and that impact your ability to meet the meal pattern requirements, maintain documentation to provide to the CDE upon request.

Offer Versus Serve (OVS)

The CA state-specific waiver for OVS is a “limited-use” waiver that supports program operators when congregate meal service is directly impacted by COVID-19. A waiver for OVS has been issued for high schools serving NSLP and SBP. An OVS waiver has also been issued for use during unanticipated school closures occurring between the start of the SY and April 30, 2023. These flexibilities waive the requirement for high schools to participate in OVS. If you use the OVS waiver flexibility, maintain documentation of the direct impact of COVID-19 on your congregate meal service as well as the duration the flexibilities were used.

Monitoring Requirements During COVID-19

Onsite monitoring is a critical part of a sponsor’s ability to ensure the sites they administer comply with the regulations and policies involving the service and safety of meals to their local communities.

The USDA has waived the on-site monitoring requirement until 30 days after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has declared the end of the public health emergency, and is allowing the site visit monitoring to be conducted remotely.

Serving at Alternate Sites Waiver

The USDA has approved two CA state-specific waivers for SY 2022–23 that address site-specific service requirements:

  • Serving FFVP at Alternate Sites Waiver: allows SFAs participating in the FFVP to offer FFVP snacks to elementary school children at non-FFVP school sites (elementary, middle, or high schools) if the FFVP school is closed or does not have meal service. Effective July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2022. This is a “limited-use” waiver and flexibilities may only be used when congregate meal service is directly impacted by COVID-19 or during an anticipated school closure.

  • Meal Service at School Sites for Unanticipated School Closures: waives the requirement that limits SSO and SFSP operations during an unanticipated school closure to a non-school site. Effective October 1, 2022 through April 30, 2023. This is a “limited-use” waiver and flexibilities may only be used during an anticipated school closure.

Unanticipated School Closures

The USDA has approved a series of CA state-specific waivers for SY 2022–23 to support continued access to nutritious meals during unanticipated school closures. Many of these waivers have been mentioned previously based on subject matter addressed and are repeated below to ensure a comprehensive listing of meal service flexibilities available during unanticipated school closures:

  • First Week Site Visits (SFSP)- Valid from the start of SY 2022–23 through April 30, 2023.
    • Waives the requirement for SFSP operators to visit each of their sites at least once during the first week of operation. Program operators are still required to conduct a full review of food service operations at each site within the first four weeks of operations, as well as maintain a reasonable level of site monitoring.

  • Noncongregate Meal Service (NSLP and SBP)- Effective October 1, 2022, through April 30, 2023.

  • Meal Time Requirements (SFSP and SSO)- Effective October 1, 2022, through April 30, 2023.

  • Parent and Guardian Pick-Up (SFSP and SSO)- Effective October 1, 2022, through April 30, 2023.

  • OVS (SFSP)- Valid from the start of SY 2022–23 through April 30, 2023.

  • Meal Service at School Sites for Unanticipated School Closures- Effective October 1, 2022, through April 30, 2023.

At-a-Glance Comparison Chart

The USDA has developed a comparison table to assist program operators as they transition from SY 2021–22 operations under COVID-19 nationwide waivers and flexibilities to operations designed around their own unique circumstances for SY 2022–23. This at-a-glance comparison chart provides an overview of how specific program flexibilities have changed since SY 2021–22 and the flexibilities available for the upcoming school year. The chart is available on the USDA website at: School Meals Programs Comparison Table of Flexibilities for School Year 2021–22 and School Year 2022–23 External link opens in new window or tab..

Communication to Families

In order to ensure that parents, guardians, and students are aware of the availability of meals, schools and community organizations should communicate as widely as possible and in multiple languages. Communication strategies to consider include:

  • Public announcements on radio or television
  • Email blasts
  • Social media messages
  • Automated phone calls
  • Website announcements
  • Newspaper notifications
  • Community partner newsletters
    • Food banks
    • Mayor’s Office
    • Boys and Girls Club
    • YMCA
    • Community centers
    • Faith-based organizations

CACFP Operations

Provides COVID-19 related implementation guidance for CACFP Operators. CACFP Operators include all types of centers (child and adult care centers, at-risk afterschool [ARA] programs, emergency shelters [ES]) and day care home (DCH) sponsoring organizations.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has released a number of waivers that offered additional flexibilities to support safe and efficient meal service, specifically:

School Year (SY) 2021–22 Waiver Applications Summary

Once you have opted into any of the waivers listed below, they are valid for the full 2021–22 SY.

The USDA requires that the following waivers be used only to the extent needed until in-person congregate meals and snacks are able to be resumed safely:noncongregate meal service, meal time flexibilities, parent and guardian pick-up, meal pattern, and on-site monitoring. As a result, the CDE often refers to these “limited use waivers.”

Program Operators are encouraged to periodically reevaluate their environment, and use the flexibilities in these limited use waivers only as long as needed.

Waiver Application Description Timeframe
SY 2021–22 Waiver Elections Application Available for SSO, NSLP, SBP, and CACFP Operators.

Annual Waivers: Includes SSO operation, SFSP reimbursement, OVS high school, area eligibility afterschool flexibilities provided by USDA Child Nutrition (CN) Response Waivers #85, #86, #92, and #93.

Limited Use Waivers: Includes noncongregate meals, mealtime, parent pick- up, on-site monitoring, meal pattern flexibilities provided by USDA CN Response Waivers #87–91, #94, and #96.

Meal pattern waivers require additional applications to be valid (see below).

Complete and submit online prior to adopting the flexibilities allowed under the waiver.

Annual Waivers: Valid the entire SY 2021–22 (July 1, 2021–June 30, 2022).

Limited Use Waivers: Valid the entire SY 2021–22 (July 1, 2021–June 30, 2022) for use on an as-needed basis only.

While valid for the full SY, SFAs should routinely evaluate their need for continued COVID-19 CNP waiver flexibilities.

Waiver Background

In the past several months, FNS has released a number of guidance documents. In some instances, these policy memos have overlapping timeframes and timelines. Additionally, some broader CACFP guidance can be found within waivers titled School Year (SY) 2021–22 and having an effective start date of July 1, 2021. We recognize that this may cause some confusion. For school-based programs, the waiver title and whether the waiver applies to summer meals or school meals will guide you to which flexibilities apply. For others, the waiver effective dates will be your guide.

Additionally, on June 11, 2021, the USDA released Questions and Answers for CNP Operations in SY 2021–22 External link opens in new window or tab. intended to provide clarification to state agencies and program operators as they operate the CNPs during SY 2021–22.

For all waivers, you must report to the CDE which flexibilities you are using. It should also be noted that SY 2021–22 waivers are considered new waivers and, as a result, CNP Operators must report their elections and usage of these waivers to the CDE, and any flexibilities granted previously will not carry over.

In addition, on April 9, 2021, the USDA issued guidance for state agencies to implement Section 1107 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which allows meals to be provided through the CACFP to homeless, young adults ages 18–24. For more information on serving meals to homeless, young adults, please contact your county specialist.

Waiver Applications

On April 20, 2021, the USDA released several waivers for SY 2021–22, which can be found on the CDE COVID-19 Response Nationwide Waivers SY 2021–22 web page.

The USDA requires that a subset of these flexibilities only be used to the extent needed until in-person congregate meals and snacks can be resumed safely. For additional guidance on this expectation, please refer to question number four in USDA Policy Memorandum SP 15, CACFP 13, SFSP 08-2021 External link opens in new window or tab..

Additionally, the USDA also requires the CDE to track the use of these waivers.

The SY 2021–22 Waiver Elections Application is currently available online.

Annual Elections: Valid for the Entire SY 2021–22

For CACFP Operators, only the Nationwide Waiver of Area Eligibility for Family DCH Providers is available for annual elections. You may opt into this waiver at any time during the school year and it is valid for the entire SY 2021–22.

Limited Use Waivers

The USDA requires that the following waivers be used only to the extent needed until in-person congregate meals and snacks are able to be resumed safely: noncongregate meal service, meal time flexibilities, parent and guardian pick-up, meal pattern, and on-site monitoring. Once an application is submitted and, in the case of the meal pattern waiver, approved, these waivers will be valid for the entire SY 2021–22.

If you use the flexibilities allowed by any waivers in your operations, you must have an integrity plan. A CACFP Integrity Plan Guide is available in the CACFP section on the Resources tab of this web page and in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) Download Forms.

More information on the waivers that require additional CDE oversite, including area eligibility for CACFP at-risk sites and meal pattern flexibilities, is provided in the sections below.

The Nutrition Services Division (NSD) also wants to remind all program operators that there are procurement flexibilities provided by Title 2, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 200.320(f)(2), Noncompetitive Procurements Resulting from a Public Emergency. Also note that if these flexibilities are used, CACFP Operators must continue to document procurements and maintain those records for the appropriate amount of time.

For questions regarding this subject, contact the Procurement Resources Unit by phone at 916-322-8323 or by email at SFSContracts@cde.ca.gov. Please also review the CDE COVID-19 FAQ web page related to procurement.

Finally, individuals serving meals should follow all current COVID-19 prevention and hygiene guidelines including staying home when sick, washing hands for at least 20 seconds prior to handling or distributing food, avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces. Please reference your local public health department guidance for more information.

Noncongregate Feeding

The USDA Noncongregate Feeding Waiver External link opens in new window or tab. supports access to nutritious meals while minimizing potential exposure to COVID-19. The USDA has reissued this waiver for SY 2021–22 and it is in effect from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022. However, as children begin to safely return to child care settings, it is the expectation of the USDA that program operators will limit their use of the noncongregate feeding flexibilities to an as-needed basis only. For CACFP noncongregate COVID-19 meal service, only enrolled infants, children, and adults (in adult DCHs and centers, and emergency shelters) are eligible to receive meals.

If meals are consumed on-site, the distribution and eating areas need to be designed with current social distancing protocols in mind, such as proper shielding between nutrition services staff and students, avoiding overcrowded lines, arranging tables and chairs to maintain the recommended distance, and spacing the meal service time. Tables and eating areas should be properly cleaned and sanitized and additional hand washing stations should be available to participants.

If meals are consumed off-site, the meal distribution sites should be located in areas that are easily accessible to the population you serve. To allow for social distancing, noncongregate meal distribution can vary based on community need and allowability. Enrichment activities are still required, even for weekend meals, for those operators that participate in CACFP At-Risk.

Examples include:

  • Distributing meals using a food distribution truck

  • Sending boxed or bagged meal(s) home with children for up to a week (seven days during summer) at a time, if approved in the CNIPS for weekend meal service

  • Establishing a drive-through system in the parking lot to minimize contact

  • Distributing meals on the weekend for the upcoming week, if approved in the CNIPS for weekend meal service

  • Distributing meals outside of the 9 a.m.–5 p.m. business day to allow for easier access for working parents and guardians to pick-up meals

Home Delivery

While noncongregate feeding is contraindicated due to COVID-19 safety precautions, CACFP operators may deliver meals directly to the homes of children or adults participating in the CACFP. Delivery of meals can be completed by mail, delivery service, or hand-delivered by staff, volunteers, community organizations, or others.

Before initiating a home meal delivery service, CACFP operators must first obtain written consent from households of eligible children or participating adults. This consent can be obtained through email or other electronic means. During this process, CACFP operators should also confirm the household’s current address and confirm the number of eligible children or participating adults in the home to ensure the correct number of meals are delivered to the correct location. The CACFP operators must take all necessary actions to ensure that the confidential information is handled appropriately at all times and by all organizations involved with meal delivery. The CACFP operator must have a Memorandum of Understanding 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.

When delivering meals, CACFP operators may use a distribution approach that includes meals for multiple days (up to seven days). In such instances, the operators should ensure that proper food safety measures and social distancing guidelines are in place. Children and adults participating in CACFP do not need to be present for home delivery of meals as long as the CACFP operator has obtained the household’s written consent. If the meals are shelf stable, no one needs to be present, as long as the address has been verified. CACFP operators should always consider state and local food safety requirements and best practices.

For more information about CACFP meal delivery options during COVID-19, please see USDA’s CNP Meal Service during Novel Coronavirus Outbreaks: Questions and Answers #3 External link opens in new window or tab.. Please also review the CDE COVID-19 FAQs web page related to procurement.

Meal Service Times Flexibilities

The USDA Meal Time Flexibility Waiver External link opens in new window or tab. allows CACFP Operators to provide meals outside of the prescribed meal service time requirements. The USDA has reissued this waiver effective July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022. However, as children begin to safely return to traditional child care settings, it is the expectation of the USDA that CACFP Operators will limit their use of the meal time feeding flexibilities to an as-needed only basis.

These waivers provide the flexibility to bundle meals together and to provide them during one distribution. However, program operators are still required to establish meal service distribution times for each site approved in the CNIPS.

CACFP Operators may serve any one of the following combinations: 

  • Breakfast, lunch, and a snack
  • Breakfast, dinner, and a snack
  • Breakfast and two snacks
  • Lunch, dinner, snack
  • Lunch and two snacks
  • Dinner and two snacks

CACFP Operators can contact their county specialist with questions regarding allowable meal combinations or email CACFPWAIVER@cde.ca.gov with any additional questions regarding the COVID-19 CACFP waiver process.

Meal Pattern Flexibilities

The USDA has reissued a CACFP meal pattern waiver effective July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022. Meal pattern exceptions granted for dates prior to July 1, 2021, are no longer valid. CACFP Operators must submit a new request for any meal pattern waiver applying on or after July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022.

The COVID-19 meal pattern waiver is designed to support access to nutritious meals while minimizing challenges due to COVID-19 related issues. The USDA encourages program operators to maintain and meet the nutrition standards for each program to the greatest extent possible.

From July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022, CACFP Operators may submit waiver requests for only the following three meal pattern requirements:

  • That at least one serving per day must be whole grain-rich

  • That the crediting of grains by ounce equivalents must be fully implemented by October 1, 2021

  • That low-fat milk (1 percent) must be unflavored

The meal pattern requirements listed above are the only requirements for which waiver requests will be considered. This means that CACFP Operators will be required to meet all other meal pattern requirements. These flexibilities should be used only on an as-needed basis.

CACFP Operators must obtain approval to implement waivers of the meal pattern requirements.

The COVID-19 CACFP Meal Pattern Waiver Application is currently closed. If the CACFP Operator does not receive an email notification after submitting the application, or has additional questions, send an email to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) CACFP Meal Pattern Waivers inbox at CACFPMPW@dss.ca.gov and CACFP staff will follow up.

Parent or Guardian Pick-up

The USDA Parent Meal Pick-up Waiver External link opens in new window or tab. allows eligible program operators to distribute meals to a parent, guardian, or authorized individuals to take home to their children. The USDA has reissued this waiver effective July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022. However, as children begin to safely return to traditional child care settings, it is the expectation of the USDA that CACFP Operators will limit their use of the meal time feeding flexibilities to an as-needed basis only. For additional guidance on this USDA expectation for the waiver, please refer to question number four of USDA Policy Memorandum SP 15, CACFP 13, SFSP 08-2021 External link opens in new window or tab. .

The USDA has provided additional flexibilities that allow program operators to also distribute meals to other authorized individuals on behalf of parents or guardians of eligible children. In order for program operators to allow individuals other than legal parents or guardians to pick up meals on the behalf of eligible children, the program operator must have an integrity plan or procedure in place to ensure that program accountability is maintained and that duplicate meals are not distributed to any eligible child. Program operators must have a written integrity plan and retain accurate records of the meals served under this waiver and report to the CDE NSD at the conclusion of the COVID-19 emergency. A CACFP Integrity Plan Guide is available in the CACFP section of the Resources tab of this web page.

To participate in the Parent Meal Pick-up Waiver the following plans must be in place and retained:

  • Program Operators must have a written plan to ensure they are able to maintain accountability and program integrity. This plan can include strategies such as using a point-of-service system; requesting a parent, guardian, or authorized individual to identify the age, grade, or classroom teacher; asking for a student identification number; and posting guidelines for parents to see and follow.

  • Program Operators must have a written process in place to ensure:

    1. Meals are distributed only to parents, guardians, or authorized individuals of eligible children, and

    2. Duplicate meals are not provided for any child.

Examples include only offering parent pick-up at select locations or offering parent pick-up in conjunction with providing meals for multiple days.

Implementation of this waiver by CACFP Operators is optional.

CACFP At-Risk Area Eligibility Waiver

The USDA has reissued the area eligibility waiver in the afterschool programs for family day care home providers for SY 2021–22 effective July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022. This waiver allows schools, regardless of their location, to claim all afterschool snacks at the free rate and all at-risk programs afterschool care centers, regardless of their location, to apply to participate in the CACFP and claim all meals and snacks at the free rate. Finally, day care homes, regardless of their location, can receive Tier 1 reimbursement rate for all meals and snacks provided during this time period. The CDE will be applying the Tier 1 reimbursement rate to meals served at all sites regardless of whether or not their site application has Tier 1 or Tier 2 listed.

To apply for this waiver, complete the SY 2021–22 Waiver Elections Application; approvals are valid for the full effective period July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022.

Monitoring Requirements During COVID-19

Except for the allowance that all monitoring reviews happen off-site, all monitoring waiver flexibilities under the CACFP expired on September 30, 2020. Monitoring is a critical part of a CACFP Sponsor’s ability to ensure that the sites that they administer comply with the regulations and policies addressing the service and safety of meals. All CACFP Sponsors must now revert to the requirements regarding the frequency of site reviews including reviewing each site three times a year, with two of those visits being unannounced, and no more than six months elapsing between reviews.

However, the Nationwide Waiver of On-site Monitoring Requirements for Sponsors in the CACFP—Extension allows all reviews to be handled remotely (i.e., off-site) until 30 days after the end of the public health emergency, as declared the by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

All new sites must still meet the federal requirements of Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 226.6(d). Below are some of the requirements described in the federal regulation:

  • Licensing requirements or staff/child ratios
  • Health and safety requirements for emergency shelters (ES)
  • Health/sanitation permit
  • Fire/building safety permit
  • Suitability of facilities

The USDA is allowing some flexibility for new site reviews. The CACFP Sponsor must still conduct a review in the first four weeks of operation, but it can be done through a desk audit.

CACFP Operators can contact their county specialist with questions regarding off-site monitoring or email CACFPWAIVER@cde.ca.gov with any additional questions regarding the COVID-19 CACFP waiver process.

Communication to Families

In order to ensure that parents, guardians, and students are aware of the availability of meals, schools and community organizations should communicate as widely as possible and in multiple languages. Communication strategies to consider include:

  • Public announcements on radio or television
  • Email blasts
  • Social media messages
  • Automated phone calls
  • Website announcements
  • Newspaper notifications
  • Community partner newsletters
    • Food banks
    • Mayor’s Office
    • Boys and Girls Club
    • YMCA
    • Community centers
    • Faith-based organizations

Reimbursements

The federal reimbursement program discussed in the entries below does not require program operators to complete an application.

Emergency Operational Costs Reimbursement

Overview

On January 26, 2021, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) released Policy Memorandum SP-06, CACFP-05-2021, CNP Emergency Operating Costs During COVID-19: Implementation Guidance for State Agencies External link opens in new window or tab.. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (the Act), made federal funding available through state agencies to program operators of the NSLP, SBP, and CACFP for the purposes of covering emergency operational costs reimbursement (ECR) incurred from March–June 2020 due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Operational costs related to meal service under the SSO and the SFSP during this same time period, and as a result of the flexibilities under COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #59 External link opens in new window or tab., are included in this program as well. These funds have already been provided to qualifying program operators through two temporary reimbursement programs: School Nutrition Programs (SNP) ECR Program and the CACFP ECR Program.

This funding did not include the following programs: Special Milk Program, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, and funds received through grant opportunities like the NSLP Equipment Assistance Grants or standalone and non school operators of SFSP.

Please note: This funding opportunity is now closed. The information on this web page is available for reference only.

Background

On January 26, 2021, the USDA FNS released Policy Memo CNP Emergency Operating Costs During COVID-19: Implementation Guidance for State Agencies External link opens in new window or tab.. On March 15, 2021, the USDA FNS released subsequent guidance and questions and answers titled: Child Nutrition Emergency Operational Costs Reimbursement Programs: State Agency Implementation Plan Template and Q&A Guidance External link opens in new window or tab.. Additionally, on August 11, 2021, USDA FNS released a third set of Question and Answers, titled Child Nutrition Emergency Operational Costs Reimbursement Programs: Q&As #3 External link opens in new window or tab..

To participate, state agencies must opt-in by submitting an application to FNS and then later provide a more detailed implementation plan. The CDE Nutrition Services Division (NSD) has already submitted an application to USDA FNS as well as the required Implementation Plans. CNP Operators do not need to submit an application to either the CDE or USDA FNS to participate in this program.

Eligibility

Please note: This funding opportunity is now closed. The information on this web page is available for reference only.

SNP ECR Program

In order for school food authorities (SFAs) to be eligible to receive payments under this program, SFAs must have a current program agreement with the CDE, operations must have been impacted by COVID-19 during any month March–June 2020, and you must have filed a valid NSLP/SBP/SFSP/SSO meal claim through the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) as detailed below:

  • Any month March–June 2019 or January or February 2020; and
  • Any of the months of September 2020 through present or provide assurances to CDE that you will file a claim for a month that occurs during the first full semester or equivalent term following the end of the public health emergency.

Note: standalone or non school operators of the SFSP are not eligible to receive payments through this program.

CACFP ECR Program

CACFP operators eligible to receive payments under this program include institutions (day care homes, sponsoring organizations, independent child care centers, adult care centers, outside-school-hours care centers, at-risk afterschool centers, and emergency shelters), unaffiliated centers, and/or day care homes, who have a current program agreement with the CDE, whose operations were impacted by COVID-19 during any month March–June 2020 and who have filed a valid meal claim through CNIPS as detailed below:

  • Any months March–June 2019 or January or February 2020; and
  • Any of the months of September 2020 through present or provide assurances to the CDE that you will file a claim within the first 90 days after the end of the public health emergency.

Program operators participating in the School Nutrition ECR Program can also receive payments through the CACFP ECR Program if they meet the eligibility requirements.

Compliance

The SNP and CACFP Operators and all institutions receiving ECR funds will be required to provide and maintain information on how the funds were spent or the plans for spending them. The CDE issued a survey to participating program operators to collect this information in January 2022.

Application Information

Program operators of the SNP and CACFP do not need to fill out an application to receive the ECR funding. The CDE already has an approved application with the USDA on behalf of all SNP and CACFP Operators.

Reimbursement Payments

Funds for both SNP and CACFP ECR Programs were distributed to program operators by the January 31, 2022 deadline. Please note that while funds must be offered to all eligible program operators, program operators can choose to reject some or all of the funds offered.

Payment details are reflected within the 2020–21 Payment Summary section of the CNIPS External link opens in new window or tab.. Payments were distributed December 17, 2021.

Reimbursement Calculations

The amount of funding provided to each program operator is determined by a formula established under the Act. The CDE automatically calculated and disbursed all reimbursement amounts to eligible SNP Operators, CACFP institutions, and sponsoring organizations (Day Care Home [DCH] Sponsors, Sponsors of Unaffiliated Centers [SOUC] and Sponsors of Independent Centers [SOIC]). DCH Sponsors and SOUCs then calculated and disbursed all reimbursement amounts to eligible sites and providers (See Additional ECR Information—CACFP Only section below).

The reimbursement amount is approximately equal to 55 percent of lost revenue by month from April–June 2020, as compared to those same time periods in 2019. For March 2020, the reimbursement amount is approximately equal to 27.5 percent of lost revenue as compared to March 2019.

Since there are program operators that were not operating in 2019, two categories of operators were developed, those that are classified as “new program operators” and those that are classified as “all other program operators.” Each category has its own calculation formula that determines the reimbursement owed to the program operator.

A “new program operator” is defined as one that is operating for the first time, and generally speaking, did not file claims during the reference period of March-June 2019 because they were not yet participating in the CNP. When there is no 2019 reference month for comparison, “new operators” will use the average of January and February 2020 reimbursement amounts in place of the 2019 reference month. If the program operator has only one month January or February 2020, a ‘zero’ for the missing month will be used to calculate the average. In some cases, an agency may not have participated in the CNP during the early months of the reference period but then started their participation during the later months of the reference period. These agencies would use a combination of the “new program operator” and “all other program operators” formula to calculate reimbursements. Conversely, if an operator started their operations during the initial months of the reference period but then did not operate in the later months of the reference period, then all reimbursement months would utilize the “all other program operators” calculation formula.

The reimbursement for “all other program operators” is calculated by subtracting the total reimbursement amount for the reference month 2020 from the reimbursement amount from the corresponding 2019 month and multiplying by 55 percent.

Categories are determined on a month by month basis for each of the months in the March–June 2019 reference period.

Sample Calculations

April 2020 ECR Amount:

  • “All other program operators”
    • (April 2019 Reimbursement – April 2020 Reimbursement) x 0.55
  • “New program operator”
    • [(Average of January and February 2020 Reimbursement) – (April 2020 Reimbursement)] x 0.55

There are a few special circumstances related to payment calculations:

  • For the month of March 2020, the total amount of calculated reimbursement is divided by two.
  • If the calculation for any given month results in a negative number, then the program operator will not receive emergency funds for that month.

For examples of each type of calculation, please refer to the USDA Q&A for Program Reimbursement for Emergency Operational Costs for Child Nutrition Programs during the COVID-19 Pandemic External link opens in new window or tab..

Using Reimbursement Funds

ECR funds may be used to reimburse any local source of funds that supplemented the nonprofit school food service account or the CACFP nonprofit food service account during the reimbursement period to offset the impact of pandemic operations on that account. The program operator must maintain documentation supporting these reimbursements for future audit or oversight purposes. Any remaining funds must be deposited in the nonprofit school food service account or the CACFP nonprofit food service account and be used in accordance with normal program requirements. The CDE issued a survey in English and Spanish to program operators to obtain this information in January and February 2022.

Accounting

If ECR funds are used to reimburse local sources of funds that supported the CACFP or the SNP during March–June 2020, program operators must track and maintain documentation of the use of these ECR funds separately from CACFP and SNP reimbursement.

If your agency uses the California School Accounting Manual resource codes to report and maintain financial data, the CDE created a new standardized resource code to record CACFP and SNP ECR funds. Please ensure the revenue is first deposited into the CACFP nonprofit food service account or the school food service account using the resource codes below:

  • Resource Code 5460, Child Nutrition: CACFP COVID-19 Emergency Operational Costs Reimbursement
  • Resource Code 5465, Child Nutrition: SNP COVID-19 Emergency Operational Costs Reimbursement
  • Revenue Object Code 8220 (Child Nutrition Programs)

Please note: Once deposited into the CACFP nonprofit food service account or school food service account, ECR funds do not need to be tracked separately from CACFP or SNP reimbursement unless they are used to reimburse a local funding source as described above. Additionally, funds may only be used for the CNP for which they were awarded. SNP ECR funds must be used for the operation of the SNPs, and likewise, CACFP ECR funds can only be used to support the operation of the CACFP. These funds cannot be combined across programs or be used for purposes other than supporting the CNP for which they were awarded.

Indirect Costs

For SNPs, indirect costs can be applied to ECR funds. California Education Code, Section 38101(c) limits food service program indirect costs to amounts derived using the lesser of a school district's approved indirect cost rate or the statewide average indirect cost rate, which is posted on the CDE Indirect Cost Rates web page. Each district should compare this statewide average rate with its individual indirect cost rate to determine the lesser rate for use with this program.

For the CACFP, the indirect cost rate for the CACFP is the indirect cost rate awarded to a center sponsor by its cognizant agency. In the case that the center sponsor was not previously awarded an indirect cost rate, then it may elect to apply the di minimus cost rate of 10 percent.

Reporting Use of ECR Funds

As a condition of receiving the SNP and CACFP ECR funds, program operators are required to report on the use of these funds. The CDE developed an online survey that, once completed, fulfills this reporting requirement.

Use of Funds Survey.

Deadline: January 31, 2022; Extended to March 4, 2022

This survey is now closed.

Returning ECR Funds

The ECR Program is voluntary. If you have questions about returning funds, please contact the CDE by sending an email to ECR@cde.ca.gov.

Assurance Statements

Completing and Submitting Assurances Statements

Agencies who were identified as eligible for the SNP ECR or the CACFP ECR Program but have not resumed services were still able to participate by submitting an Assurance Statement to the CDE noting that they will resume services. The CDE issued a listserv on June 16, 2021, with a link to the Assurance Statement where agencies could indicate that they will resume operations within the timeframes indicated below:

  • For SNPs: A month occurring during the first full semester or equivalent term following the end of the public health emergency
  • For the CACFP: Withinthe first90 days after the conclusion of the public health emergency

For updates on the status of the public health emergency, please refer to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Emergency web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Resuming Operations

Once the Department of Health and Human Services federal public health emergency declaration for the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health pandemic has expired, program operators who qualified for ECR funding using an Assurances Statement must resume services as stated above. If program services are not resumed, the CDE may seek recovery of ECR funds.

DCH Sponsors and SOUCs who distributed funds to their sites and providers, please see additional information below regarding collecting and tracking of Assurances Statements.

Additional ECR Information—CACFP Only

The CDE calculated reimbursement amounts for institutions, DCH Sponsors, and SOUCs based on site level information provided by sponsoring agencies. Additional responsibilities for CACFP Sponsors are outlined below.

Overview of Sponsor Role

DCH Sponsors and SOUCs are required to support site and provider participation in this program by:

  • Determining the eligibility status of each provider or site
  • Conducting outreach to closed providers and sites to determine whether or not they wish to participate and plan to resume meal service
    • If providers plan on resuming CACFP services, collecting and maintaining an assurance statement
  • Completing the Sponsor Calculations Worksheet
  • Complete Use of Funds survey available in English and Spanish, distribute survey to sites and providers, and encourage completion
  • Verification of funds disbursed to sites/providers
    • Resubmit the updated Sponsor Calculations Worksheet and Certification Statement to the CDE.
  • For all agencies within their sponsorship that qualified for ECR funding through an Assurance Statement, provide information regarding the resumption of CACFP services following the end of the expiration of the COVID-19 public health pandemic declaration.

If an SOUC does not distribute funds to their sites/providers but instead, operates their program with a centralized, aggregated budget, then they are exempt from completing the Sponsor Calculations Worksheet. In such cases, the CDE calculated and disbursed ECR reimbursement funds directly to the agency.

The CDE hosted a CACFP ECR Funds Training External link opens in new window or tab. in May 2021, outlining the process for sponsors to determine site/provider eligibility and reimbursement.

ECR Sponsor Calculations Worksheet

The ECR Sponsor Calculations Worksheet is a template excel file used by CACFP Sponsoring Organizations of DCHs (Form ID, CACFP 93) and Unaffiliated Centers (Form ID, CACFP 94) to track and determine eligibility of sites and providers, calculate reimbursement payments, and maintain assurance statements for those sites/providers who elect to submit an assurance statement (see Assurance Statements below).

This file was required be completed and returned to the CDE ECR@cde.ca.gov inbox by July 16, 2021. Supporting documentation for the meal claim reimbursements noted in the ECR Sponsor Calculations Worksheet should be available upon request.

If an SOUC does not distribute funds to their sites/providers but instead, operates their program with a centralized, aggregated budget, then they are exempt from completing the Sponsor Calculations Worksheet. In such cases, the CDE calculated and disbursed ECR reimbursement funds directly to the agency.

The CDE submitted the ECR Sponsor Calculations Worksheets to the USDA for their review and approval. The CDE then awarded the sponsor the amount of funds listed in the ECR Sponsor Calculations Worksheet. The sponsor then used the approved ECR Sponsor Calculations Worksheet to document the date and amount of funds distributed to sites and providers, as well as to document any agencies refusing funds; the ECR Sponsor Calculations Worksheet was then resubmitted along with a certification statement to the CDE by February 11, 2022.

Assurance Statements

The ECR Program requires that all CACFP Operators who have not yet resumed services, but who are otherwise eligible for the program, be given the opportunity to confirm their eligibility. If a provider or site operated any months March–June 2019, or January or February of 2020, they are potentially eligible for this voluntary program. Program operators that provided assurance statements that they would resume CACFP operations and file a meal claim within 90 days of the end of the public health emergency received reimbursement through this program. For updates on the status of the public health emergency, please refer to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Emergency web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Statements of assurances were collected by DCH Sponsors and Unaffiliated Center sponsoring organizations, prior to disbursement of ECR funds. All assurance statement documentation, including examples of outreach to closed centers or providers, should be kept on-site and readily available upon request. Statement of assurances must include the following criteria:

  • Be in writing (all forms of written communication are acceptable, including web-based/digital formats)
  • Be signed by the site/provider and contain their contact information
  • Display the date on which the assurance was submitted to the sponsor
  • Acknowledge that the state agency may seek recovery of funds from the CACFP sponsoring organization should the site/provider fail to resume operations within the applicable timeframe

The CDE developed an assurance statement template, and agencies were also able to customize a form, as long as it contained all the requirements listed above. Assurance statements were collected and documented in the Sponsor Calculations Worksheet, which was due to the CDE by July 16, 2021.

For CACFP providers who hold an agreement with the state agency, such as Independent Centers and Center Sponsors, the period to provide assurances has closed.

Administrative Fees

This federal program includes administrative support for DCH Sponsors and SOUCs.

  • Administrative reimbursements for DCH Sponsors were automatically calculated and disbursed to DCH Sponsors by the CDE.

  • SOUCs could retain up to 15 percent of total site meal reimbursement amounts per their agreement for sponsor administrative costs. The Sponsor Calculations Worksheet assisted SOUCs with calculating the administrative fees they could retain from reimbursements generated through this program.

  • The ECR Program does not provide administrative reimbursement for Independent Centers (CACFP agencies overseeing one site).

Contacts and Additional Information

The CDE NSD is providing FAQs to help clarify both state and federal policy and operational questions for program operators in the CNPs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The following FAQs include questions on the ECR Programs. To access the FAQs, visit the CDE CNP COVID-19 FAQ web page. You may also contact the ECR Team at ECR@cde.ca.gov with your questions.

Webinars

Townhall Meetings—School Nutrition Programs Only

During the COVID-19 disaster, the CDE has hosted a series of Tuesday Town Hall meetings to help program operators hear the latest news from the CDE and to hear from colleagues their strategies, perspectives, and best practices. Below are the available recorded webinars. Information on participating in the live Town Hall meetings is posted on the CDE Nutrition Services Division (NSD) Nutrition What’s New web page under the Disaster Tab.

Please Note: After a live Town Hall meeting, it takes approximately two weeks for the recording to become available.

Title Applicable to
November 15, 2022 Tuesday@ 2 School Nutrition Town Hall Resources School Nutrition Program (SNP) Operators, Chief Business Officers (CBO), Food Service Directors (FSD), and Superintendents
October 25, 2022 Tuesday@ 2 School Nutrition Town Hall Resources SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
September 27, 2022 Tuesday@ 2 School Nutrition Town Hall Resources SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
August 23, 2022 Tuesday@ 2 School Nutrition Town Hall Resources SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
July 26, 2022 Tuesday@ 2 School Nutrition Town Hall Resources SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
June 28, 2022 Tuesday@ 2 School Nutrition Town Hall Resources SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
May 24, 2022 Tuesday@ 2 School Nutrition Town Hall Resources SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
April 26, 2022 Tuesday@ 2 School Nutrition Town Hall Resources SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
March 22, 2022 Tuesday@ 2 School Nutrition Town Hall Resources SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
February 22, 2022 Tuesday@ 2 School Nutrition Town Hall Resources SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
February 8, 2022 Universal Meals: Listening Session Webinar SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
January 25, 2022 Tuesday@ 2 School Nutrition Town Hall Resources SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
January 11, 2022 Universal Meals: Listening Session Webinar SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
December 7, 2021 Tuesday@ 2 School Nutrition Town Hall Resources SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
November 16, 2021 Tuesday@ 2 School Nutrition Town Hall Webinar SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
November 2, 2021 Universal Meals: Listening Session Webinar SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
October 26, 2021 Tuesday@ 2 School Nutrition Town Hall Webinar SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
October 5, 2021 Universal Meals: Listening Session Webinar SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
September 28, 2021, Tuesday @ 2: School Nutrition Town Hall Webinar SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
August 24, 2021, Tuesday @ 2: School Nutrition Town Hall Webinar SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
July 27, 2021, Tuesday @ 2: School Nutrition Town Hall Webinar SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
June 22, 2021, Tuesday @ 2: School Nutrition Town Hall Webinar SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents

ECR Webinars—SNP and CACFP

The CDE provided informational webinars on the ECR Program. Below are the previous webinars. For upcoming webinars, the announcements and details will be posted on the CDE NSD Nutrition What’s New web page under the Disaster Tab.

Additional Webinars

For additional webinars, visit the Institute of Child Nutrition’s School Nutrition Association COVID-19 On-demand Webinars web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Resources

Below are resources to help support program operators and staff during COVID-19. 

SNP

Title Description
CDE: 2022–23 SNP Integrity Plan (DOCX) The 2022–23 SNP Integrity Plan Guide will assist program operators in the development of standard operating procedures and help identify some of the required documents program operators must collect and maintain to meet SNP requirements. This guide also provides prompting questions that program operators should consider and answer when developing an integrity plan.

CACFP

Title Description
CDE: CACFP Integrity Plan (DOCX) The CACFP Integrity Plan Guide will assist program operators in the development of standard operating procedures and help identify some of the required documents program operators must collect and maintain to meet CACFP requirements. This guide also provides prompting questions that program operators should consider and answer when developing an integrity plan.

Summer Meals

Title Description
CDE: SSO Integrity Plan (DOCX) The SSO Integrity Plan Guide will assist program operators in the development of standard operating procedures and help identify some of the required documents program operators must collect and maintain to meet SSO requirements. This guide also provides prompting questions that program operators should consider and answer when developing an integrity plan.

CDE: SFSP Meal Pattern Guidance and Sample Menus

Includes guidance and sample menus to provide CNP Operators ideas for how to serve meals that meet the SFSP meal pattern requirements.

USDA: SFSP Meal Pattern web page External link opens in new window or tab.

The summer meal pattern for breakfast, snack, lunch, and supper for grades K–12.

USDA: COVID-19 SFSP and SSO Meal Delivery Questions and Answer Guide External link opens in new window or tab.

The Question and Answer guide for serving meals during COVID-19.

USDA SSO: Providing Multiple Meals at a Time During COVID-19 Pandemic Fact Sheet External link opens in new window or tab.

SSO: Providing Multiple Meals at a Time During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Access to Food

Title Description

USDA: School Meals Programs: Providing Multiple Meals at a Time During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic External link opens in new window or tab.

This publication provides bulk foods consideration, tips, best practices, and sample menus for school meals program operators who wish to distribute multiple meals at one time.
CDE: Providing Bulk Foods During the COVID-19 Pandemic Fact Sheets (PDF) This handout provides Questions and Answers for CNP Operators in regards to using and offering bulk foods.

California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Certified List of California Producers by County External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

This is CDFA’s list of certified farmer’s market sellers. As this is a nationally declared emergency, please note that Title 2, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 200.320(f)(2), allows sponsors to engage in noncompetitive solicitations due to supply chain disruptions.

CDE: CNPs Community Engagement Response to COVID-19

CNPs are important to maximizing food resources, supporting disaster relief, and promoting food assistance programs. This web page provides CNP Operators resources to assist communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Best Practices

Title Description

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Considerations for Schools External link opens in new window or tab.

This web page provides a listing of best practices, considerations, and resources for returning to school.

USDA: CNP Meal Service During COVID-19 Fact Sheet External link opens in new window or tab.

This fact sheet contains best practices for parent pick-up of meals and snacks, helpful suggestions, and safety reminders.

Safety Information

Title Description

CDE: COVID-19 Health and Safety Considerations During Food Service Preparation and Delivery Fact Sheet (PDF)

This handout provides best practices to ensure the health and safety of staff and the public when providing meals during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

CDE: Creating an Emotionally Healthy and Safe Child Nutrition Environment in Challenging Times Fact Sheet (PDF)

This handout provides suggestions on how to create an emotionally healthy and safe child nutrition environment in this challenging time.

CDE: Hoja informativa sobre la creación de un entorno de nutrición infantil emocionalmente saludable y seguro en tiempos difíciles (PDF) Este folleto ofrece sugerencias sobre cómo crear un entorno de nutrición infantil emocionalmente saludable y seguro en este momento desafiante.

CDE: Safe Food Handling Practices During COVID-19 Fact Sheet (PDF)

This handout is for program operators to provide in student meals to demonstrate safe food handling practices during COVID-19.

CDC: How to Protect Yourself and Others Fact Sheet External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

This handout talks about how COVID-19 spreads and what we can all do to decrease the spread.

CDC: What you need to Know About COVID-19 to Protect Yourself and Others Fact Sheet External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

This handout explains what COVID-19 is, how it is spread, what to do if you contract it, social distancing practices, and more.

CDC: Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

This web page gives information about which types of cloth face coverings to choose and how to wear them properly.

World Central Kitchen and James Beard Foundation Safety First: Serving Food and Protecting People During COVID-19 External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

This guide book titled Safety First: Serving Food and Protecting people during COVID-19 assists food service staff in keeping everyone safe.

CDE: Food Safety Handout (English and Spanish) (PDF) This handout can be printed and included with meals to provide food safety instructions to families and students.

Other Resources

Title Description
Listos California Toolkit External link opens in new window or tab. An effort of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), Listos California has developed a disaster preparedness guide in a variety of languages, including Chinese, Hmong, Russian, Spanish, Punjabi, and Vietnamese. Toolkit elements include COVID-19 guidance for immigrants, safety tips for wildfires, training curriculum, scripts and videos and tips for caregivers and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

USDA: Feeding Kids When Schools Are Closed Due to COVID-19 Fact Sheet External link opens in new window or tab.

Fact sheet on the USDA meal waivers and feeding kids when schools are closed due to COVID-19.

Safe Schools for All Hub External link opens in new window or tab.

The CDPH web page provides updates and information on COVID-19 guidance specifically for schools.

USDA Guidance on Human Pandemic Responses External link opens in new window or tab.

This web page includes Automatic State Flexibilities, Additional USDA Authorities, Partnering to Ensure Access to Food, USDA Information, and Federal Resources.

California Volunteers Office of the Governor External link opens in new window or tab.

This web page is a place to sign-up and join California for All, so we can all safely help our communities in response to COVID-19. Here are some ways you can make a difference: donate to food banks, donate blood, check-in on neighbors, support nonprofits, deliver meals to seniors in need, and more.

FAQs

The CDE Nutrition Services Division is providing frequently asked questions (FAQ) to help clarify both state and federal policy and operational questions for 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. To access the FAQs, visit the CDE CNP COVID-19 FAQ web page.

Contacts

School Nutrition Program (SNP) Analysts

For questions regarding the SNP, contact your SNP Analyst on the CDE SNP Specialist Directory web page.

CACFP Analysts

For questions regarding the CACFP, contact your CACFP Analyst on the CDE CACFP Contact List web page.

SFSP Team

For questions regarding the SFSP, you can contact the SFSP team by email at SFSP@cde.ca.gov.

USDA Foods Team

For more information about USDA Foods, contact the Food Distribution Unit by email at FoodDistribution@cde.ca.gov.

Claims and Reimbursement Analysts

If you need assistance with claims and reimbursement, please contact your assigned fiscal analyst which you can find on the CDE Nutrition Services web page, under the Analyst Directory Tab.

If you have any questions regarding the disaster reimbursement claims, contact the Nutrition Services Division (NSD) at NSDDisasterClaims@cde.ca.gov.

COVID-19 CNP Meal Pattern Waiver Assistance

SBP, NSLP, SSO meal pattern questions, please contact the NSD at SNPMPW@cde.ca.gov

CACFP meal pattern questions, please contact the California Department of Social Services at CACFPMPW@dss.ca.gov.

FFVP Team

If you have any questions regarding the FFVP, please contact the FFVP Team at FFVP@cde.ca.gov.

Emergency Operational Costs Reimbursement (ECR)

If you have questions regarding the ECR, contact the ECR Team at ECR@cde.ca.gov.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Thursday, January 26, 2023
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