Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

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

Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-26-20 on March 13, 2020, regarding the physical closure of schools by local educational agencies (LEA) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order provides that even if schools close temporarily because of COVID-19, LEAs will continue to receive state funding so that they can:

  • Continue delivering high-quality educational opportunities to students to the extent feasible through, among other options, distance learning or independent study

  • Provide school meals in noncongregate settings through the SFSP and SSO, consistent with the requirements of the CDE and USDA

  • Arrange for, to the extent practicable, supervision for students during ordinary school hours

  • Continue to pay employees

This guidance provides a framework for how LEAs can continue to deliver high-quality education and meals to students when the school site is physically closed and the LEA has suspended onsite instruction. It is critical that LEAs take steps to ensure that these opportunities are available to all students, especially disadvantaged students. On March 16, 2020, the California Legislature approved an initial $100 million for LEAs and child care centers to cover school cleaning expenses to help ensure the safety of staff and students.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law on March 18, 2020. Division B (Nutrition Waivers), Title II (COVID-19 Child Nutrition Response Act) of this law authorizes the USDA to waive certain requirements for all federal CNPs, including SBP, NSLP, CACFP, SFSP, SSO, and FFVP.

As the pandemic continues, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service continues to release waivers and guidance to state agencies and program operators. Please refer to the 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.

The following waivers require additional CDE oversite:

  1. Area Eligibility for SSO/SFSP (Area Eligibility and Area Eligibility of Closed Enrolled Sites),

  2. Area Eligibility for CACFP At-risk sites, and

  3. Meal Pattern Flexibilities

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

School 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).

Please note: The information outlined in this tab applies to CNP operations during the academic school year. For meal service guidance related to summer operations, please refer to the Summer 2021 tab.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service has released a number of waivers that have allowed SNP operators to serve meals through the federal SSO or the SFSP when school is in session and offered additional SNP flexibilities to support safe and efficient meal service specifically:

FNS has released guidance for SY 20–2021 and SY 2021–22. Waivers for the SY 2020–21 are effective from August 31, 2020 through June 30, 2021. Effective dates for SY 2021–22 waivers vary, with more details provided below, however these are considered new waivers and, as a result, SNP operators will be required to report their elections and usage of these waivers to the CDE. The waiver election process for SY 2021–22 is currently under development at the CDE. The process will be modeled after the existing summer and previous school year applications. As soon as it becomes available, the CDE will communicate the SY 2021–22 waiver election process to operators, likely in late July 2021.

School Year 2020–21

With the exception of four waivers, the SY 2020–21 waivers are automatically applied to all school food authorities (SFA) in California; the four waivers that SFAs must opt into are: the meal pattern flexibilities, the local school wellness policy (LSWP) triennial assessment, and the two area eligibility waivers, if they apply. Please note: the LSWP waiver opt-in period closed June 30, 2020.

  • To opt into the meal pattern flexibilities, the CNP Operator must complete the COVID-19 Meal Pattern Waiver Application. Once a CNP Operator submits the application, the CDE Nutrition Services Division (NSD) will send an email notification that the waiver request was approved. If the CNP Operator does not receive an email notification or has additional questions, send an email to CNPMealPatternWaiver@cde.ca.gov and CDE NSD staff will follow up.

  • To opt into an area eligibility waiver, an SSO/SFSP sponsor must complete the CNP Area Eligibility Waiver Application. A waiver is required for each site, and, once approved, program operators must update their Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) application.

Operating SSO/SFSP allows SFAs to serve students 18 years of age or under and students over 18 who participate in a public or nonprofit private school program for students with disabilities.

Please note that schools that opened under the NSLP/SBP, must submit separate claims by program type in CNIPS—separated by NSLP/SBP and SSO/SFSP. Claims may be submitted for meals served between the beginning of SY 2020–21 and June 30, 2021, under SSO/SFSP rather than through NSLP/SBP, if the operators have been approved to participate in SSO/SFSP retroactively. Any student who paid for their meals must receive a refund for the meal payments.

Program operators may choose to continue to operate under the NSLP/SBP as the USDA released waivers for noncongregate feeding, meal time flexibility, parent pick-up, meal pattern, and OVS for senior high school for SY 2020–21 for NSLP/SBP. Program operators must follow eligibility and standard meal counting and claiming requirements and can only claim meals for their enrolled students.

School Year 2021–22

Many of the waivers issued by FNS for the SY 2021–22 are considered new waivers. As a result, SNP operators must record their use of these waivers separately from previous years. In addition, FNS notes that the flexibilities offered by some of these waivers should be used only until in-person congregate meals are able to be resumed.

All SNP operators are required to report their waiver use to CDE. The CDE is in the process of developing the SY 2021–22 tracking survey and will communicate via listserv as well as during the virtual Town Hall when the SY 2021–22 waiver application is released. SNP operators will be required to periodically update their waiver usage so that CDE has an accurate understanding of the meal service flexibilities needed, and in use, by SNP operators. More information on the frequency and tracking survey information will follow.

For SY 2021–22, SNP Operators can continue to operate the NSLP SSO option for the duration of the school year, even if children return to school for in-person instruction (July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022). Operating SSO allows SFAs to serve students enrolled in a school of high school grade and under determined by the state agency, including persons enrolled in a school program for the mentally or physically disabled; and persons under 21 enrolled in a residential child care institution. Note that the ability to operate SFSP during SY 2021–22 was not extended. FNS has also authorized for these meals served to be reimbursed using the SFSP Program Reimbursement Rates.

For All School Years:

If you use the flexibilities allowed by any waivers in your operations, you must have an integrity plan. Background on the integrity plan is located on the CDE SSO and SFSP Integrity Plan web page, and an SSO and SFSP Integrity Plan Guide is available in the Summer Meals section of the Resources tab of this web page.

Operating under the SSO/SFSP allows schools to serve meals, in area-eligible locations, free to all students 18 years of age or under and students over 18 who participate in a public or nonprofit private school program for students with disabilities. In addition, schools can be open to the community and extend meal service beyond students enrolled in their district.

Program operators should update site applications in the CNIPS for sites operating under SSO/SFSP. The summer program(s) have a slightly different program calendar so program operators need to update SSO/SFSP through September 2021 in Program Year (PY) 2020–21. CNIPS PY 2021–22 will open for updates in July 2021 and will include site applications for meals served through the SSO beginning October 1, 2021.

SSO/SSFP CNIPS Site Application Timeframes
CNIPS Program Year Seamless Summer Operating Period CNIPS Status
2020–21
October 2020–September 2021
Open– update your site applications
2021–22
October 2021–September 2022
Closed– will open this summer for the upcoming school year

 

More information on the waivers that require additional CDE oversite- Area Eligibility, Area Eligibility of Closed Enrolled Sites, Area Eligibility for CACFP At-risk sites, and Meal Pattern Flexibilities, is provided in the sections below.

The 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 phone at 916-322-8323 or by email at SFSContracts@cde.ca.gov. Please also review the 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. The California Department of Public Health has developed COVID-19 food service employee health and personal hygiene information, which can be found in the Resources tab.

Noncongregate Feeding and Social Distancing

The noncongregate feeding waiver supports access to nutritious meals while minimizing potential exposure to COVID-19. The noncongregate waiver under the SSO/SFSP and NSLP/SBP programs for SY 2020–21 is in effect until June 30, 2021, and for SY 2021–22 is in effect from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022. The extension for SY 2021–22 is considered a new waiver and SNP operators will be required to report their use of this waiver. Additionally, the noncongregate feeding waiver for SY 2021–22 applies to the following three SNP programs: NSLP, SBP, and SSO. The CDE is in the process of developing the SY 2021–22 waiver application and will communicate via listserv as well as during the virtual Town Hall when the application is available.

Also, as time progresses, and as schools begin to safely return to traditional meal service practices, it is the expectation of both the USDA and the CDE that SFAs will limit their use of the noncongregate feeding flexibilities.

Schools may be operating under a hybrid model where some students will be attending face-to-face instruction while others are receiving instruction through distance learning and in this case, the noncongregate feeding waivers support continuous access to safely distributed school 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, spacing the meal service time, or serving meals in the classroom. Tables and eating areas should be properly cleaned and sanitized and additional handwashing stations should be available to students.

If meals are consumed off-site, the meal distribution sites should be located in areas that are easily accessible to children eligible for free and reduced-price (F/RP) meals. To allow for social distancing, noncongregate meal distribution will vary based on community need and allowability. Examples include:

  • Distributing meals using a school food truck following the school bus routes

  • Sending boxed or bagged meal(s) home with students for up to a week (seven days) at a time

  • Establishing a drive through system in the parking lot. Parents and guardians can pick up a meal for all children

  • Distributing meals on the weekend for the upcoming week

  • Distributing meals later in the day to allow for easier access for working parents and guardians to pick-up meals

Home Delivery

Delivery of meals can be completed by mail, delivery service, or hand-delivered by school staff. This option is only available to program operators serving students of their own school sites due to student confidentiality regulations. Schools that choose to deliver meals may serve children who are in area eligible locations, or only those who are eligible for F/RP meals. Children who attend Provision 2 or Community Eligibility Provision school sites are considered eligible for delivered meals.

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 with SSO/SFSP during COVID-19, please see the USDA’s COVID-19 SSO/SFSP Meal Delivery Question and Answers External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF). Please also review the CDE COVID-19 FAQs web page related to Meal and Snack Distribution and Pick Up.

Meal Time Flexibilities

The meal time flexibility waiver allows for schools to provide meals outside of the prescribed meal service time requirements. The current meal time flexibility waiver under the SSO/SFSP and NSLP/SBP extends through June 30, 2021. The USDA has reissued this waiver for SY 2021–2022 effective July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022. This is considered a new waiver and SNP program operators will be required to report their use of this waiver. Additionally, the meal time flexibilities waiver for SY 2021–22 applies to the following three SNP programs: NSLP, SBP, and SSO. The CDE is in the process of developing the SY 2021–22 waiver application and will communicate via listserv as well as during the virtual Town Hall when the application is available.

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

As time progresses, and as schools begin to safely return to traditional meal service practices, it is the expectation of both the USDA and the CDE that SFAs will limit their use of the meal time flexibilities.

For Summer 2021 meal service guidance, please refer to the Summer 2021 tab.

Parent or Guardian Pick-up

The Parent Meal Pick-up Waiver allows eligible program operators to distribute meals to a parent or guardian to take home to their children. The current meal time flexibility waiver under the SSO/SFSP and NSLP/SBP extends through June 30, 2021. Additionally, the USDA has reissued this waiver for SY 2021–2022 effective July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022. This is considered a new waiver and SNP program operators will be required to report their use of this waiver. The CDE is in the process of developing the SY 2021–22 waiver application and will communicate via listserv as well as during the virtual Town Hall when the application is available.

The USDA has provided additional flexibilities that allow program operators to 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. An SSO and SFSP Integrity Plan Guide is available in the Summer Meals section of the Resources tab of this web page.

To participate in the Parent Meal Pick-up Waiver 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. This plan can include strategies such as using point-of-service systems, sign in sheets, request parent, guardian, or authorized individuals to identify the age, grade, or classroom teacher or ask for 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 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 program operators is optional.

These waivers apply to school year meal service only, for Summer 2021 meal service guidance, please refer to the Summer 2021 tab.

As time progresses, and as schools begin to safely return to traditional meal service practices, it is the expectation of both the USDA and the CDE that SFAs will limit their use of the parent and guardian meal pick up flexibilities.

Area Eligibility Requirements During COVID-19 for SSO/SFSP

The USDA has extended the area eligibility waiver for SSO/SFSP Operators through September 30, 2021.

Without this waiver, regulations require that open sites in the SSO/SFSP be located in areas where at least 50 percent of the participants are eligible for F/RP meals. The Area Eligibility waiver allows the CDE to replace the 50 percent threshold with a lower 40 percent threshold. Additionally, for sites that are below the 40 percent F/RP threshold, the CDE can accept from CNP sponsors additional reasons stating how the eligibility rates have changed due to COVID-19, e.g., percentage of business closures in the area, increase in SNAP participation, increased participation in local food banks, or increased unemployment.

To participate in this waiver, an SSO/SFSP sponsor must complete the online CNP Area Eligibility Waiver Application. If you are operating at a site that has not already been approved, then you will need to apply for a new site waiver and update your CNIPS application.

Area Eligibility Requirements During COVID-19 for Closed-enrolled SSO/SFSP Sites

The USDA has extended the waiver for area eligibility for SSO/SFSP Operators for closed enrolled sites through June 30, 2021. This guidance allows the CDE to waive SSO/SFSP regulations to collect applications to determine site eligibility when the closed-enrolled site is area eligible.

To participate in this waiver, an SSO/SFSP sponsor must complete the online CNP Area Eligibility Waiver Application. If you are operating at a site that has not already been approved, then you will need to apply for a new site waiver and update your CNIPS application.

Area Eligibility Requirements During COVID-19 for SSO Sites During SY 2021–22

The USDA is allowing program operators to provide meals to all students through the SSO during SY 2021–22. While a specific area eligibility waiver has not been issued, USDA Nationwide Waiver to Allow the Seamless Summer Option through SY 2021–2022, waiver #85 External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), does allow for operators to serve SSO at all participating sites, regardless of a site’s location or type. This includes sites that are not located in area eligible locations.

Meal Pattern Flexibilities

School Year 2020–21

The current COVID-19 meal pattern waiver for NSLP, SBP, and SSO has been extended through September 30, 2021. Please note that this extension does not include the SFSP. The SFSP meal pattern waiver expires on June 30, 2021, therefore, SFSP sponsors must meet all SFSP meal pattern requirements starting July 1, 2021. For additional Summer 2021 meal service guidance, please refer to the Summer 2021 tab.

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 expects, and strongly encourages program operators to maintain and meet the nutrition standards for each program to the greatest extent possible. However, if agencies have justifiable reasons for not meeting the meal pattern, then they may complete a waiver application for specific meal components based on specific program types. Agencies may request a COVID-19 meal pattern waiver if they are unable to serve certain menu requirements due to impacts of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 meal pattern waiver requires you to seek approval on a case-by-case basis. All COVID-19 meal pattern waivers previously submitted for the NSLP, SBP, and SSO remain in effect through September 30, 2021. Agencies must submit additional COVID-19 meal pattern waivers for any additional programs or meal components as needed. Please note that COVID-19 meal pattern waivers previously submitted for the SFSP remain in effect through June 30, 2021.

The CNP Operator must complete the online COVID-19 Meal Pattern Waiver Application. Once a CNP Operator submits the application, the CDE NSD will send an email notification that the waiver request was approved. If the CNP Operator does not receive an email notification or has additional questions, send an email to CNPMealPatternWaiver@cde.ca.gov and CDE NSD staff will follow up.

School Year 2021–22

USDA has reissued this waiver for SY 2021–2022 NSLP, SBP and SSO effective October 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022. This is considered a new waiver; meal pattern exceptions granted during the previous school year will not continue. SNP operators must submit a new request for any meal pattern waiver applying to SY 20212022.

The CDE is in the process of developing the SY 2021–22 meal pattern waiver application and will communicate via listserv as well as during the virtual Town Hall when the application is available. Meal pattern waiver requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis and SNP operators will be required to submit a justification that includes how the nutritional quality of meals served will be preserved as well as the efforts exerted to explore alternate options prior to seeking a meal pattern waiver.

The USDA expects, and strongly encourages, program operators to maintain and meet the nutrition standards for each program to the greatest extent possible. As a result, meal pattern waiver approvals will be time limited and SNP operators may need to resubmit their requests for prolonged meal pattern waiver needs.

For NSLP, SBP and SSO during SY 2021–2022, SNP operators will only be able to submit waiver requests for the following meal pattern requirements:

  • Sodium levels
  • Whole-grain rich requirement
  • For preschoolers, minimum of one whole-grain rich serving per day
  • Variety of vegetables from subgroups
  • Minimum of two options of fluid milk
  • Low-fat (1%) milk must be unflavored
  • Plan menus and food components for specific age/grade groups

The meal pattern elements listed above are the only elements for which waiver requests will be considered. This means that SNP operators will be required to meet all remaining meal pattern requirements. For more information on meal patterns, visit the NSLP and SBP Meal Patterns web page.

OVS in SFSP

The USDA released guidance that allows NSLP/SBP and SFSP/SSO Operators to use OVS. The guidance allows SFAs to use OVS specific to SFSP. The waiver will remain in effect through June 30, 2021.

FNS has reissued this waiver for SSO meal service during SY 2021–2022 effective during the instructional school year anytime July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. Keep in mind that this flexibility already exists for SBP.

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. Previous to COVID-19, all SFSP sponsors were required to visit each site during the first week of operation, and to review the food service operations at least once during the first four weeks of operation. Also previous to COVID-19, all SSO sponsors were required to review each site at least once during its operation. In order to accommodate social distancing and its goal of restricting the spread of COVID-19, the USDA has waived the onsite monitoring requirement until 30 days after the US. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has declared the end of the public health emergency. During this time, remote monitoring is encouraged.

In addition, the USDA released a third extension to waive the first week site visits for SFSP Operators through September 30, 2021. For additional Summer 2021 meal service guidance, please refer to the Summer 2021 tab.

To promote social distancing while maintaining program integrity and federal nutrition and safety standards, the CDE recommends that sponsors perform their monitoring site activities offsite, e.g., desk audit, video visits.

Use of USDA Foods During COVID-19

Due to COVID-19 and the Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for California, CNPs that participate in the USDA Food Distribution Program (FDP) and are operating noncongregate meal service can use their USDA Foods to serve noncongregate meals during COVID-19.

Additionally, there are two more ways that USDA Foods may be used or donated:

  • If CNP operators or local educational agencies have excess or perishable USDA Food inventory that they are unable to use, they may donate items to nonprofit or charitable organizations such as food banks. Additional USDA guidance on this can be found in Management Bulletin CNP-02-2018. Please note that foods donated cannot be claimed as a food loss.

  • Disaster relief organizations may designate CNPs as feeding sites or request that CNPs provide their USDA Foods to other feeding sites. USDA Foods may only be released upon request to recognized disaster relief organizations such as the American Red Cross or the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services as outlined in Management Bulletin 02-401 Use of USDA Foods in Disaster Feeding. The USDA has also stated that during disaster feeding, agencies can use a “to-go” serving method in order to maintain safe health practices and that this approach will fulfill the congregate feeding requirement.

USDA Foods Entitlement Waiver

On January 25, 2021, the California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division (NSD) received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to opt-in to the second extension of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Waiver National School Lunch Program (NSLP) USDA Foods Calculations.

This waiver allows the CDE to continue to use School Year (SY) 2018–19 Total Lunches Served data to calculate the estimated entitlement for SY 2021–22 for all recipient agencies during the upcoming ordering period. Most importantly, this waiver specified that the USDA would not conduct the annual reconciliation process in November 2021, which would update SY 2021–22 entitlement to final SY 2020–21 NSLP lunches served data.

Instead, the USDA intends on resuming the annual reconciliation process after SY 2021–22, in November 2022, where SY 2021–22 USDA Foods entitlement will be finalized using actual SY 2021–22 lunch counts.

If you have any questions regarding the use of USDA Foods during a disaster, please email FoodDistribution@cde.ca.gov.

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Grant

School Year 2020–21

On October 23, 2020, the USDA released policy memorandum SP 03-2021 FFVP Operations for SY 2020–21 during COVID-19 External link opens in new window or tab.. It provides questions and answers intended to clarify the operations of the FFVP during the COVID-19 public health emergency for SY 2020–21. The policy memo remains in effect until June 30, 2021.

Some of the highlights covered in the memo include:

  • Response to Question #8: FFVP foods may only be provided at elementary schools currently approved to operate the program. However, if the FFVP awarded elementary school is operating as an open site, FFVP foods may be provided to any children attending the site.

  • Response to Question #9: FFVP funds may not be used to purchase fruits and vegetables for the SFSP and SSO. However, if an FFVP awarded elementary school is operating as an open site, it may provide FFVP foods as a separate benefit, along with the SFSP/SSO meals.

  • Response to Question #11: If the FFVP awarded elementary school operating as an open site is delivering SFSP/SSO meals to households, then the FFVP foods can be provided to all children in the household regardless of age.

  • Response to Question #12: FFVP funds from an FFVP awarded elementary school that has ceased operations can be reallocated for use at the remaining open FFVP awarded elementary school(s). Please note that the required funding level of $50–$75 per student for the school year still applies. 

    Note: If your SFA would like to reallocate the FFVP funds from a closed FFVP awarded elementary school site to an open FFVP awarded elementary school site, please send an email to FFVP@cde.ca.gov and indicate:

    • The closed FFVP school site(s)
    • The amount that will be reallocated from the closed FFVP school site(s)
    • Which open FFVP school site(s) will be receiving the reallocated funds

    After reviewing and approving the SFA’s request, the California FFVP Team will update CNIPS for the SFA’s 2020–21 FFVP second allocation.
  • Response to Question #13: FFVP awarded elementary schools that are not open during COVID-19 may not purchase produce with FFVP funds and then provide it to an alternate meal site. However, as stated in Response to Question #12, SFAs may request the California FFVP Team to reallocate the FFVP funds from a closed FFVP awarded elementary school site to an open FFVP awarded elementary school site.

On September 9, 2020, the USDA granted the CDE NSD two state-specific waivers for the FFVP for SY 2020–21 and ending June 30, 2021:

  • The FFVP Parent Pick-up Waiver allows SFAs participating in the FFVP to distribute the FFVP snacks to a parent or guardian on behalf of their eligible child(ren) without the child(ren) being present.

  • The Serving FFVP at Alternate Sites Waiver allows SFAs participating in the FFVP to offer the 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.

If you plan to use the flexibilities in these waivers, please send an email to FFVP@cde.ca.gov.

School Year 2021–22

The CDE NSD is submitting requests to the USDA to extend, through June 30, 2022, two FFVP COVID-19 waivers issued to California that will expire on June 30, 2021. FFVP grantees will be notified if the waiver requests are approved by the USDA.

The two FFVP COVID-19 waivers the CDE is seeking are:

  1. Waiver to allow FFVP participating schools to offer the FFVP foods at non-FFVP schools (elementary, middle, or high schools) if the FFVP school(s) is closed or does not have meal service (referenced in Question #8 in SP 23-2020).

  2. Waiver to allow parents or guardians to pick up FFVP foods on behalf of their child(ren) without the child(ren) being present (referenced in Question #4 in SP 23-2020).

Please contact the CDE FFVP Team by email at FFVP@cde.ca.gov with any questions.

Community Eligibility Provision Deadline

On March 26, 2021, USDA FNS released the Nationwide Waiver of Community Eligibility Provision Deadlines in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF). This waiver applies to LEAs administering the NSLP and SBP through the CEP. The goal of this waiver is to allow LEAs additional time to safely gather accurate identified student and benefits data in order to meet CEP requirements. LEAs electing CEP, establishing a new ISP may calculate their ISP using data drawn at any time during the prior school year (July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021).

Additionally, this waiver extends the following CEP Requirements as noted below:

  • Data used to calculate ISP – deadline extended to anytime between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021
  • CEP Application Deadline for SY 2021–2022 - September 30, 2021

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 program operators of the CACFP. 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) providers.

Please note:

  • The information outlined in this tab applies to CNP operations during the school year 2020-21 only.
  • For Summer 2021 guidance, please refer to the Summer 2021 tab for guidance on summer meal service.

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

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 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 titles, summer versus school, will guide you to which flexibilities apply. For others, the waiver effective dates will be your guide. For all waivers, Summer 2021 and SY 2021–22, you must report to the CDE which flexibilities you are using. More information on waivers beginning July 1, 2021, can be found in the Summer 2021 tab. 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.

CNP operators should note that while the SY 2021–22 meal service waivers intended to promote and preserve access to meals are available for the duration of the instructional year, USDA FNS stated that these flexibilities should be implemented only until such time when greater levels of congregation in in-care settings is safe and healthy to pursue. This means that program operators should routinely reevaluate their meal and snack service needs and, to the extent safe and possible, work towards a return to pre-COVID-19 practices, limiting their use of waivers to an as-needed basis only.

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 young adults ages 18 through 24 experiencing homelessness. For more information on serving meals to homeless young adults, please contact your county specialist.

School Year 2020–21

With a few exceptions, these waivers are automatically applied to all CACFP operators in California; the waivers that you must opt into are: the meal pattern flexibilities and the area eligibility waivers, if they apply.

  • To opt into the meal pattern flexibilities waiver, the CNP operator must complete the COVID-19 Meal Pattern Waiver Application. Once a CNP operator submits the application, the CDE NSD will send an email notification that the waiver request was approved. If the CNP Operator does not receive an email notification or has additional questions, send an email to CNPMealPatternWaiver@cde.ca.gov and CDE NSD staff will follow up.

  • Please note the CACFP area eligibility waiver only applies to the CACFP At-risk Afterschool Meal Component. To opt into an area eligibility waiver, sponsors must complete the online CNP Area Eligibility Waiver Application. Of note, if your site is in an area where at least 40 percent of the participants are eligible for F/RP, then you do not need to opt in to the waiver. For sites that are below the 40 percent threshold, Program Operators must fill out the online waiver. A waiver is required for each site, and, once approved, Program Operators must update their CNIPS application.
School Year 2021–22

Many of the waivers issued by FNS for the SY 2021–22 were new waivers. As a result, CACFP operators must record their use of these waivers separately from previous years. In addition, FNS notes that the flexibilities offered by these waivers should be used only until in-person congregate meals and snacks are able to be resumed.
All CACFP operators are required to report their waiver use to CDE. The CDE is in the process of developing the SY 2021–22 tracking survey and will communicate via listserv as well as during the virtual Town Hall when the SY 2021–22 waiver application is released. CACFP operators will be required to periodically update their waiver usage so that CDE has an accurate understanding of the flexibilities needed, and in use, by CACFP operators. More information on the frequency and application to follow.

For All Years:

If you use the flexibilities allowed by any waivers in your operations, you must have an integrity plan. Background on the integrity plan is located on the CDE CACFP Integrity Plan web page, and a CACFP Integrity Plan Guide is available in the CACFP section on the Resources tab of this web page and in the 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 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 phone at 916-322-8323 or by email at SFSContracts@cde.ca.gov. Please also review the 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. The California Department of Public Health has developed COVID-19 food service employee health and personal hygiene information, which can be found in the Resources tab.

Noncongregate Feeding

The noncongregate feeding waiver supports access to nutritious meals while minimizing potential exposure to COVID-19. The noncongregate waiver under the CACFP extends through June 30, 2021. USDA has reissued this waiver for SY 2021–22 and it is in effect from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022. For CACFP noncongregate COVID-19 meal service, only enrolled infants, children, and adults (in adult DCH 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 offsite, 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.

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) at a time

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

  • Distributing meals on the weekend for the upcoming week

  • 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

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. (PDF). Please also review the CDE COVID-19 FAQs web page related to procurement.

Meal Service Times Flexibilities

The meal time flexibility waiver allows CACFP operators to provide meals outside of the prescribed meal service time requirements. The current meal time flexibility waiver under the CACFP extends through June 30, 2021. The USDA has reissued this waiver for SY 2021–2022 effective July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022. 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

As time progresses, and as children begin to safely return to in-person child care, it is the expectation of both the USDA and the CDE that SFAs will limit their use of the meal time flexibilities.

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

School Year 2020–21

The current COVID-19 meal pattern waiver under the CACFP extends through June 30, 2021. 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 expects, and strongly encourages CACFP operators to meet the nutrition standards for child care centers, child care homes, At-Risk Afterschool centers, emergency shelters (ES), and adult day care homes to the greatest extent possible. Agencies may request a COVID-19 meal pattern waiver if they are unable to serve certain menu requirements due to impacts of COVID-19.

For SY 2020–2021, the COVID-19 meal pattern waiver requires you to seek approval on a case-by-case basis. All COVID-19 meal pattern waivers previously submitted for the CACFP remain effective through June 30, 2021. Agencies must submit additional COVID-19 meal pattern waivers for any additional programs or meal components as needed.

The CACFP operator must complete the online COVID-19 Meal Pattern Waiver Application. Once a CACFP operator submits the application, the CDE NSD will send an email notification that the waiver request was approved. If the CACFP Operator does not receive an email notification or has additional questions, send an email to CNPMealPatternWaiver@cde.ca.gov and CDE NSD staff will follow up.

School Year 2021–22

USDA has reissued this waiver for SY 2021–2022 effective July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022. This is considered a new waiver; meal pattern exceptions granted during the previous instructional year will not continue. CACFP operators must submit a separate request for any meal pattern waiver applying to SY 2021–2022.

The CDE is in the process of developing the SY 2021–22 meal pattern waiver application and will communicate via listserv as well as during a virtual Nutrition Town Hall when the application is available. Meal pattern waiver requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis and CACFP operators will be required to submit a justification that includes how the nutritional quality of meals served will be preserved as well as the efforts exerted to explore alternate options prior to seeking a meal pattern waiver.

The USDA expects, and strongly encourages, program operators to maintain and meet the nutrition standards for each program to the greatest extent possible. As a result, meal pattern waiver approvals will be time limited and CACFP operators may need to resubmit their requests for prolonged meal pattern waiver needs.

For CACFP during SY 2021–2022, program operators may only submit waiver requests for the following three meal pattern requirements:

  • One serving per day must be whole grain-rich
  • The crediting of grains by ounce equivalents must be fully implemented by October 1, 2021
  • That low-fat milk (1%) must be unflavored

The meal pattern elements listed above are the only elements for which waiver requests will be considered. For more information on meal patterns, visit the CACFP Meal Patterns web page.

Parent or Guardian Pick-up

The Parent Meal Pick-up Waiver allows eligible program operators to distribute meals to a parent, guardian, or authorized individuals to take home to their children. The current parent/guardian pick-up waiver under the CACFP extends through June 30, 2021. Additionally, USDA has reissued this waiver for SY 2021–2022 effective July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022. This is considered a new waiver; CACFP operators must report their use of this waiver. The CDE is in the process of developing the SY 2021–22 waiver application and will communicate via listserv as well as during the virtual Town Hall when the application is available.

There are no additional requirements to notify the CDE NSD that the waiver has been implemented. However, program operators must have a written integrity plan 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. 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 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.

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 extended the waiver for Area Eligibility in the CACFP At-risk Afterschool Care Meal Component through June 30, 2021. This waiver allows schools and afterschool care centers, regardless of their location, to serve At-risk afterschool meals and snacks to students after the regular school day.

School Year 2020–21

In order to streamline the administrative process, the CDE has aligned this waiver with the established state agency plan for SSO/SFSP area eligibility. If your site is in an area where at least 40 percent of the participants are eligible for F/RP, then you do not need to opt in to the waiver. For sites that are below the 40 percent threshold, participants must fill out the online waiver

To participate in this waiver, a CACFP sponsor must complete the online Area Eligibility Waiver Application. If you are operating at a site that has not already been approved, then you will need to apply for a new site waiver and update your CNIPS application.

Please note the CACFP area eligibility waiver only applies to the CACFP At-risk Afterschool Meal Component.

School Year 2021–22

Additionally, the USDA has reissued the waiver of area eligibility 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.

This is considered a new waiver; area eligibility waiver applications granted during the previous school year will not continue. CACFP operators must submit a separate request for any area eligibility waiver applying to SY 2021–2022.

The CDE is in the process of developing the SY 2021–22 waiver application and will communicate via listserv as well as during the virtual Town Hall when the application is available.

Monitoring Requirements During COVID-19

Except for the allowance that all monitoring reviews happen offsite, 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 Onsite Monitoring Requirements for Sponsors in the Child and Adult Care Food Program-Extension allows all reviews to be handled remotely (i.e., offsite) 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

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 offsite 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

Summer 2021 Operations

On March 9, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) released several policy memos. The policy memos announced Child Nutrition (CN) Responses which included seven waiver extensions of needed flexibilities for the 2021 summer operations for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), and the NSLP Seamless Summer Option (SSO) during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The CDE is required to track use of these waivers by CNP operators. As a result, CDE is requiring all Program Operators wanting to use these waivers to complete the CDE NSD Summer Operations Waiver Application prior to June 30, 2021.

Waivers described in the SNP operations tab and the CACFP operations tabs of this web page are in effect through June 30, 2021 and the waivers listed below are effective from July 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021.

Please note: The information outlined in this tab applies to child nutrition program operations during summer 2021 only.

Noncongregate Feeding and Social Distancing

The Nationwide Waiver to Allow Non-Congregate Feeding for Summer 2021 Operations External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) supports access to nutritious meals while minimizing potential exposure to COVID-19. This waiver applies to both the NSLP SSO and SFSP programs and is valid through September 30, 2021.

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, spacing the meal service time, or serving meals in the classroom. Tables and eating areas should be properly cleaned and sanitized and additional handwashing stations should be available.

If meals are consumed off-site, the meal distribution sites should be located in areas that are easily accessible to the community. To allow for social distancing, noncongregate meal distribution will vary based on community need and allowability. Examples include:

  • Distributing meals using a school food truck following the school bus routes
  • Distributing boxed or bagged meal(s) that contain up to a week (seven days) of meals
  • Establishing a drive through system
  • Distributing meals on the weekend for the upcoming week
  • Distributing meals later in the day to allow for easier access for working parents and guardians to pick-up meals

Home Delivery

If the CACFP operator determines there is a need, and it is logistically feasible, to deliver meals directly to homes, it may do so with CDE approval and adherence to all State and Federal confidentiality requirements. Delivery can be completed by mail, delivery service, or hand-delivered by CACFP staff, volunteers, community organizations, or others. This option is only available to CACFP operators that provide care for enrolled children and adult participants due to confidentiality and logistical requirements.

Only meals delivered to enrolled children or adult participants will be reimbursable. There is no additional reimbursement for home delivery, but related expenses, such as postage or delivery service fees, would be considered an allowable cost under the CACFP. Delivery costs could also be paid with non-program funds such as State or local funds, or private donations.

CACFP operators must first obtain written consent from households of enrolled children (this could include email or other electronic means) that the household wants to receive delivered meals. In addition, CACFP operators should confirm the household’s current contact information and address to ensure meals are delivered to the correct location. It is critical that CACFP operators protect the confidentiality of children and their households throughout this process. The CACFP operator must make the first contact about meal delivery with the households of enrolled children, and adult participants, and must notify them if contact information will be shared with an external organization, for example, a local non-profit that will provide meal delivery. Once the CACFP operator receives written consent from the parent or guardian or adult participant to release contact information, the information may be shared with other organizations involved with meal delivery.

For more information about meal delivery options during COVID-19, review the CDE COVID-19 FAQs web page related to procurement.

Meal Service Time Flexibilities

The Nationwide Waiver of Meal Service Time Restrictions for Summer 2021 Operations External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) allows for schools to provide meals outside of the prescribed meal service time requirements. This waiver applies to both the NSLP SSO and SFSP programs and is valid through September 30, 2021.

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

Parent or Guardian Pick-up

The Nationwide Waiver to Allow Parents and Guardians to Pick Up Meals for Children for Summer 2021 Operations External link opens in new window or tab. allows SFSP and SSO program operators to distribute meals to a parent or guardian to take home to their children. This waiver is valid through September 30, 2021.

The USDA has provided additional flexibilities that allow program operators to distribute meals to other authorized individuals on behalf of parents or guardians of eligible children when that individual has the consent of the parents. In order for program operators to participate in this waiver, they 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. An SSO and SFSP Integrity Plan Guide is available in the Summer Meals section of the Resources tab of this web page.

To participate in the Parent Meal Pick-up Waiver 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. This plan can include strategies such as using point-of-service systems, sign in sheets, request parent, guardian, or authorized individuals to identify the age, grade, or classroom teacher or ask for 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.

Area Eligibility Requirements for Summer 2021 Operations

On March 9, 2021, USDA released the Nationwide Waiver to Extend Area Eligibility Waivers for Summer 2021 External link opens in new window or tab. which extended the area eligibility waiver for SSO/SFSP Operators through September 30, 2021.

Without this waiver, regulations require that open sites in the SSO and SFSP be located in areas where at least 50 percent of the participants are eligible for F/RP meals. The Area Eligibility waiver allows the CDE to replace the 50 percent threshold with a lower 40 percent threshold. Additionally, for sites that are below the 40 percent F/RP threshold, the CDE can accept from CNP sponsors additional reasons stating how the eligibility rates have changed due to COVID-19, e.g., percentage of business closures in the area, increase in SNAP participation, increased participation in local food banks, or increased unemployment.

In addition to completing the CDE NSD Summer Operations Waiver Application, to participate in this waiver, an SSO or SFSP sponsor must also complete the online CNP Area Eligibility Waiver Application. If you are operating at a site that has not already been approved, then you will need to apply for a new site waiver and update your CNIPS application.

Area Eligibility Requirements for Closed-enrolled SSO/SFSO Sites for Summer 2021 Operations

The waiver for area eligibility for SSO and SFSP Operators of closed-enrolled sites has been extended through September 30, 2021, as a result of the Nationwide Waiver to Allow Area Eligibility for Closed Enrolled Sites for Summer 2021 Operations External link opens in new window or tab. waiver. This guidance allows the CDE to waive SSO and SFSP regulations to collect applications to determine site eligibility when the closed-enrolled site is area eligible.

In addition to completing the CDE NSD Summer Operations Waiver Application, to participate in this waiver, an SSO or SFSP sponsor must also complete the online CNP Area Eligibility Waiver Application. If you are operating at a site that has not already been approved, then you will need to apply for a new site waiver and update your CNIPS application.

Meal Pattern Flexibilities

The current COVID-19 meal pattern waiver for NSLP, SBP, and SSO has been extended through September 30, 2021, as a result of the Nationwide Waiver to Allow Meal Pattern Flexibilities for Summer 2021 Operations, COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #74 External link opens in new window or tab..

Please note that this extension does not include the SFSP. The SFSP meal pattern waiver expires on June 30, 2021. COVID-19 meal pattern waivers previously submitted for the SFSP remain effective through this date. Therefore, SFSP sponsors must meet all SFSP meal pattern requirements starting July 1, 2021.

The COVID-19 meal pattern waiver is designed to support access to nutritious meals while minimizing challenges due to COVID-19 related issues. Both the USDA FNS and CDE NSD expect, and strongly encourage, program operators to maintain and meet the nutrition standards for each program to the greatest extent possible. Agencies operating SSO may request a COVID-19 meal pattern waiver if they are unable to serve certain menu requirements due to impacts of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 meal pattern waiver requires you to seek approval on a case-by-case basis. All COVID-19 meal pattern waivers previously submitted for the NSLP, SBP, and SSO remain effective through September 30, 2021. Agencies operating SSO must submit additional COVID-19 meal pattern waivers for any meal components as needed.

In addition to completing the CDE NSD Summer Operations Waiver Application, to participate in this waiver, an SSO or SFSP sponsor must also complete the online COVID-19 Meal Pattern Waiver Application. Once a CNP Operator submits the application, the CDE NSD will send an email notification that the waiver request was approved. If the CNP Operator does not receive an email notification or has additional questions, send an email to CNPMealPatternWaiver@cde.ca.gov and CDE NSD staff will follow up.

Offer Versus Serve (OVS) in SFSP

On March 9, 2019 USDA FNS released the Nationwide Waiver to Allow Offer Versus Serve Flexibilities in the Summer Food Service Program for Summer Operations External link opens in new window or tab.. The guidance allows school food authorities (SFA) to use OVS specific to SFSP; this waiver is in effect through September 30, 2021.

To implement OVS under this waiver during the current pandemic, sponsors must be able to follow the SFSP OVS meal service parameters in entirety as stipulated below. OVS is designed for congregate feeding and, if used in a non-congregate setting, must be done so with thoughtful planning and consideration. The conditions under which sponsors are operating and their ability to follow appropriate safety measures in providing meals are factors to consider. OVS is not intended to be a way to circumvent meal pattern requirements or eliminate specific components.

SFSP OVS meal service parameters:

  • Breakfast: The following four food items must be offered:

    • One serving of fruit/vegetable,

    • One serving of bread/bread alternate

    • One serving of fluid milk, and

    • One additional serving of fruit/vegetable, bread/bread alternate, or a serving of a meat/meat alternate.

    • All the food items offered must be different from each other.

    • A child must take at least three of any of the four food items offered and
      may choose to take all four items.

  • Lunch or Supper: The following four food components must be offered through at least five different food items:

    • One serving of meat/meat alternate,

    • Two servings of fruit and/or vegetables (two different food items),

    • One serving of bread/bread alternate, and

    • One serving of fluid milk.

    • All the food items offered must be different from each other.

    • A child must take at least three food components and may choose to take all five items.

  • Lunch or supper OVS requirements differ from breakfast in that a child must take at least three food components, rather than items, listed above from the five food items offered. Three food components are required for an adequate nutritious meal for children.
  • Offering two servings of the same food item is not permissible under OVS in SFSP. All food items offered must be different from each other. Additionally, a larger food item that is worth two servings in weight, such as a two-ounce muffin, counts as only one food item under OVS in SFSP, not two.
  • Servings of all food items must adhere to the serving sizes in the SFSP meal patterns at Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 225.16(d).

Operating as an Experienced Sponsor

On April 2, 2021, USDA FNS released the Nationwide Waiver to Allow Sponsors that Successfully Participating in the SFSP in FFY 2019 to Operate as Experienced Sponsors in FY 2021 External link opens in new window or tab.. This waiver allows state agencies the discretion to use a streamlined application process for sponsors that did not operate the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 due to COVID-19, but operated in FY 2019 and were in good standing. FNS also waived the requirement for state agencies to conduct pre-approval visits of SFSP sponsors that did not participate in FY 2020 due to COVID-19, but participated in FY 2019.

Use of USDA Foods During COVID-19

Due to COVID-19 and the Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for California, CNPs that participate in the USDA Food Distribution Program (FDP) and are providing noncongregate meal service can use their USDA Foods to serve noncongregate meals during COVID-19.

Additionally, there are two more ways that USDA Foods may be used or donated:

  • If CNP Operators or local educational agencies have excess or perishable USDA Food inventory that they are unable to use, they may donate items to nonprofit or charitable organizations such as food banks. Additional USDA guidance on this can be found in Management Bulletin CNP-02-2018. Please note that foods donated cannot be claimed as a food loss.
  • Disaster relief organizations may designate CNPs as feeding sites or request that CNPs provide their USDA Foods to other feeding sites. USDA Foods may only be released upon request to recognized disaster relief organizations such as the American Red Cross or the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services as outlined in Management Bulletin 02-401 Use of USDA Foods in Disaster Feeding. The USDA has also stated that during disaster feeding, agencies can use a “to-go” serving method in order to maintains safe health practices and that this approach will fulfill the congregate feeding requirement.

Claiming

The information outlined below pertains to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency only. The 2020 Budget Act, Section 118 External link opens in new window or tab. includes specific and unique requirements for COVID-19 disaster claims which are addressed below. Please note, regular monthly claims for reimbursement for meals served must still be submitted electronically in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System web page External link opens in new window or tab..

For all content related to typical state- or federally-declared disasters, visit the Disaster Guidance for CNPs web page.

Please note:

You must continue to electronically submit regular monthly claims for reimbursement for meals served using the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) web page External link opens in new window or tab..

For all content related to typical state- or federally-declared disasters (for example: fires, floods, earthquakes, and power outages), visit the Disaster Guidance for CNPs web page.

The Emergency Operational Costs Reimbursement or ECR Programs for SNP and CACFP is separate from COVID-19 disaster claims. For more information on these two programs select the Reimbursements Tab.

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.

Eligibility for COVID-19 Disaster Claims

Eligible program operators include school districts, county offices of education (COE), charter schools, residential child care institutions, and private schools. A program operator participating in the NSLP, SBP, SSO, or SFSP with some or all sites that temporarily closed or experienced a reduction in meal service due to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency from March 2020 through August 2020, inclusive, and has made an effort to serve eligible meals to eligible pupils during the closure event, is eligible to file a claim to help offset fixed expenses. Examples of fixed expenses include salaries and benefits that were incurred during COVID-19 closures. Please note, although this eligible timeframe is similar to those within the ECR Programs referenced above and found in the Reimbursements Tab, the COVID-19 disaster claim process and reimbursement is entirely separate and unrelated to the ECR Programs.

Compliance

Eligible program operators that apply for COVID-19 disaster relief must demonstrate compliance with the applicable procedures required in the Disaster Relief Act of 1974, Public Law 93-288, as amended by Public Law 100-707 (California Education Code (EC) Section 49505[e] External link opens in new window or tab.) and the 2020 Budget Act, Section 118 External link opens in new window or tab.

Application Information

The CDE developed an online application process to assist eligible program operators with applying for COVID-19 disaster relief for March 2020 through August 2020. Two applications were made available for sponsors to submit their claim according to the state fiscal year. The final filing date for both applications was October 30, 2020.

Revisions and corrections to applications submitted by the October 30, 2020 deadline were allowed through March 5, 2020. At this time, claim revisions are no longer being accepted. For general questions regarding COVID-19 disaster claims, please email NSDDisasterClaims@cde.ca.gov and include the following information in the subject line: (1) your county name, and (2) CNIPS ID.

Reimbursement Calculation

The disaster claim amount is determined by multiplying the average daily participation (number of meals served) in the month prior to the disaster by the average combined state and federal reimbursement rate. That amount is then multiplied by the number of days the program operator was closed or experienced a reduction in meal service due to the disaster. The disaster reimbursement calculations are based on criteria found in the 2020 Budget Act, Sec. 118 External link opens in new window or tab.. For a more detailed calculation breakdown, please visit the CNP COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Reimbursement Priority

The 2020 Budget Act, Section 118 External link opens in new window or tab. established a priority order for COVID-19 disaster claim payments.

First priority for receiving Proposition 98 disaster relief is given to those program operators that made an effort to serve eligible meals to eligible pupils and had some or all sites that closed and served zero meals.

If Prop 98 funds are available after first priority claims have been paid, program operators that served a reduced number of eligible meals to eligible pupils will receive disaster relief.

For program operators that had some sites closed and other sites open and serving a reduced number of meals, the CDE will first determine the total reimbursement for sites that were closed. If Prop 98 funds remain available, the CDE will then determine reimbursements for sites that remained open and served a reduced number of meals. Whether your entire claim falls under one priority or both, the CDE will be issuing just one payment warrant for the entire COVID-19 disaster claim.

Reimbursement Funding and Payment

Approved COVID-19 disaster relief payments will be made from, and are contingent on, available Prop 98 state funding. If the CDE does not have sufficient funds to reimburse all disaster claims, then all reimbursement amounts will be prorated. Approved payments will be made by warrant directly to program operators.

While the CDE had initially intended to begin issuing payments sometime in Spring 2021, the USDA Emergency Operating Cost funding guidance issued January 2021 allows a portion of administrative costs to be reimbursed by federal funds. Therefore, COVID-19 disaster claim payments will be delayed until after these emergency operational cost reimbursement (ECR) payments are issued, as ECR payments must be issued first. If you have any questions regarding this subject, please email ECR@cde.ca.gov.

Claim Rates

For claim rates by program and year of operation, visit the CDE Rates, Eligibility Scales, and Funding web page.

References

For regulatory information regarding COVID-19 disaster claims, visit the 2020 Budget Act, Sec. 118 External link opens in new window or tab..

For regulatory information regarding typical disaster claims, visit the EC Section 49505(c) External link opens in new window or tab..

For more information, visit the CDE Disaster Response–CNP Management Bulletin CNP-02-2015 web page.

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 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) released the policy memo titled Child Nutrition Program (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 National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) for the purposes of covering emergency operational costs reimbursement (ECR) incurred from March–June 2020 due to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency. Operational costs related to meal service under the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) and the Summer Food Service Program (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 will be provided through two temporary reimbursement programs: School Nutrition Programs (SNP) ECR Program and the CACFP ECR Program.

Please note: This funding does 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 nonschool operators of SFSP.

Background

On January 26, 2021, the USDA FNS released policy memo Child Nutrition Program (CNP) Emergency Operational Costs During COVID-19: Implementation Guidance for State Agencies External link opens in new window or tab.. On March 15, 2021, 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.

To participate, state agencies must opt-in by submitting an application to FNS and then later providing a more detailed implementation plan. The California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division (NSD) has already submitted an application to USDA FNS notifying them of CDE’s intent to participate in both programs on behalf of all eligible program operators in the state. Child Nutrition Program (CNP) operators do not need to submit anything to either CDE or USDA FNS to participate in this program.

Eligibility

SNP ECR Program

In order for SFAs to be eligible to receive payments under this program, 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 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 nonschool 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, 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 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 program 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 will be issuing a survey to participating program operators to collect this information in December 2021 or 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 has already submitted the application to USDA on behalf of all SNP and CACFP program operators.

Reimbursement Payments

Funds for both SNP and CACFP ECR programs must be distributed to program operators by January 31, 2022. The timeline for disbursement of funds will depend on USDA approval and disbursement of funds to the states. CDE will distribute funds as soon as possible. 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.

Reimbursement Calculations—Both Programs

The amount of funding provided to each program operator is determined by a formula established under the Act. The CDE will automatically calculate and disburse all reimbursement amounts to eligible SNP program operators, CACFP institutions, and sponsoring organizations (Day Care Home [DCH] Sponsors, Sponsors of Unaffiliate Centers [SOUC] and Sponsors of Independent Centers [SOIC]).

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 was not operating CNPs during any of the months in the reference period, March, April, May, or June 2019. 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.

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 multiplied by 55 percent.

Categories are determined on a month by month basis for each of the months in the March–June 2019 reference period. As a result, a CNP operator could be considered a “new program operator” for March and April, but could fall into the “all other program operators” for May and June.

Examples Calculations

April 2020 ECR Reimbursement 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.

  • These calculations do not apply to SOUCs and SOICs. Please see next section titled “Additional Reimbursement Information–CACFP Only”

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. (PDF).

Additional Reimbursement Information—CACFP Only

  • The CDE will calculate reimbursement amounts for institutions and DCH sponsors, SOUC, and SOIC.

  • DCH sponsors, SOUC, and SOIC will then be responsible for calculating and disbursing reimbursements for sites and/or centers.
  • DCH sponsors, SOUC, and SOIC are also responsible for obtaining assurance statements from DCH and centers wishing to participate in the CACFP ECR program; these centers are otherwise eligible and have not yet opened services again, but commit to opening within 90 days after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic has been declared.

  • DCH sponsoring organization reimbursement will be based on administrative funds and follow the same formulas previously described.

  • SOUC and SOIC reimbursement does not follow the “new” and “all other” calculations previously described; instead, SOUCs and SOICs can retain up to 15 percent of each site’s total reimbursement. However, this amount should be based on the existing agreements between sponsors and homes or centers and not exceed 15 percent.

Using Reimbursement Funds

ECR funds may be used to reimburse any local source of funds used to supplement the nonprofit school food service account during the reimbursement period to offset the impact of pandemic operations on that account. If this approach is taken, 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 and be used in accordance with normal program requirements. CDE will be issuing a survey to program operators to obtain this information in December 2021 or January 2022.

Contacts

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

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 colleges 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 NSD Nutrition What’s New Disaster Tab web page. Please note: After a live Town Hall meeting, it takes approximately two weeks for the recording to become available.

Title Applicable to
March 23, 2021, Tuesday @ 2 School Nutrition Town Hall Webinar School Nutrition Program (SNP) Operators, Chief Business Officers (CBO), Food Service Directors (FSD), and Superintendents
February 23, 2021, Tuesday @ 2 School Nutrition Town Hall Webinar SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
January 26, 2021, Tuesday @ 2 School Nutrition Town Hall Webinar SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
December 8, 2020, Tuesday @ 2 School Nutrition Town Hall Webinar SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
November 10, 2020, Tuesday @ 2: School Nutrition Town Hall Webinar SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
October 20, 2020, Tuesday @ 2: School Nutrition Town Hall Webinar SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents
October 6, 2020, Tuesday @ 2: School Nutrition Town Hall Webinar SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents

September 22, 2020, Tuesday @ 2: School Nutrition Town Hall Webinar

SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents

August 25, 2020, Tuesday @ 2: School Nutrition Town Hall Webinar

SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents

August 11, 2020, Tuesday @ 2: School Nutrition Town Hall Webinar

SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents

July 28, 2020, Tuesday @ 2: School Nutrition Town Hall Webinar

SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents

July 14, 2020, Tuesday @ 2: School Nutrition Town Hall SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents

June 30, 2020, Tuesday @ 2: School Nutrition Town Hall Webinar

SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents

June 9 and June 16, 2020, Tuesday @ 2: School Nutrition Town Hall Webinars

SNP Operators, CBOs, FSDs, and Superintendents

May 19, 2020, Thought Partners 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 Disaster Tab web page.

Additional Webinars

For additional webinars, visit the Institute of Child Nutrition’s School Nutrition Association COVID-19 On-demand Webinars 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: SNP Integrity Plan (DOCX) The 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 and SFSP Integrity Plan (DOCX) The SSO and SFSP 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 and SFSP 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 Guides External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

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

CDE: Serving Summer Meals During School Closures Due to COVID-19 Fact Sheet (PDF)

This handout is a quick reference fact sheet for Serving Summer Meals During School Closures Due to COVID-19 for the SFSP and the SSO.

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

CDE: CNP Flexibilities During COVID-19 Fact Sheet (PDF)

 

This handout summarizes the guidance and flexibilities for School Nutrition Programs (SNP) operating the SSO, SFSP and CACFP during COVID-19 school closures or site dismissals.

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.
CDE: Meal Service for CACFP Operators during COVID-19 (PDF) This tip sheet provides CACFP Operators with guidance on reducing the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission during CACFP meal service, a list of frequently asked questions and answers, and suggestions for supporting children at meals while family style meal service is not in practice.

Safety Information

Title Description

CDE: A Guidebook for the Safe Reopening of California's Public Schools

This guidance was created through the statewide reopening schools task force that fostered a collaborative process for our educators and stakeholders to lend their important voices. Also informed by the technical assistance and advice of many health and safety organizations including the CDC, California Department of Public Health (CDPH), California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the intent of this document is to be a guide for the local discussion on safely reopening schools.

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: 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.

CDPH School Guidance External link opens in new window or tab.

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

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.

School Nutrition Association Thought Starters on Opening schools For School Year 2020–21 External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

This resource is a thought starter for food service directors and staff, that gives information on procurement priorities, staffing strategies, tackling trainings, monitoring staff health, cleaning and sanitizing and more!

FAQs

The CDE 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. 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

If you have any questions regarding meeting the COVID-19 CNP meal pattern waiver , please contact the NSD at CNPMealPatternWaiver@cde.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: Monday, May 24, 2021
Related Content
  • CNP COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
    Provides Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for program operators of the Child Nutrition Programs (CNP) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Coronavirus Response and School Reopening Guidance
    Information and resources regarding CDE's COVID-19 response efforts, including the guidance document for safely reopening schools for the 20-21 school year.
  • COVID-19 Policy and Waivers in CNPs
    Provides federal and state waivers and policy guidance for program operators of the Child Nutrition Programs (CNP) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Nutrition
    Resources and information related to child nutrition, nutrition education, food distribution programs, and the Child Nutrition and Physical Activity Advisory Council.
  • Nutrition What's New
    News and announcements relating to nutrition for program operators and contacts.
Recently Posted in Nutrition

  • CACFP Sponsor Information for the ECR Program (added 04-Jun-2021)
    Provides CACFP sponsoring organizations information on their role in the Emergency Operational Costs Reimbursement Program, and provides links to two tools – the ECR Calculations Worksheet and the Assurances Statement.
  • King’s Command Foods, LLC. Recall (added 04-Jun-2021)
    The King’s Command Foods, LLC. recalls their meat and poultry meatballs and pork patty products due to misbranding and undeclared allergens.
  • Rescission of Collection of Race & Ethnicity Data (added 03-Jun-2021)
    Rescission of the Collection of Race and Ethnicity Data by Visual Identification.
  • Child Nutrition Response #97 (added 02-Jun-2021)
    This Policy Memo waives certain School Nutrition Program administrative review criteria when school food authorities are only operating the National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option in School Year 2021–22.
  • Year-End Deadline for CNIPS Payments (added 26-May-2021)
    This page provides information regarding Year-End Deadlines for reimbursement payments in CNIPS.