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Local School Wellness Policy Final Rule


Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

Purpose: Policy, Action Required

To: National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program Sponsors

Attention: County and District Superintendents, Chief Business Officials, and Food Service Directors

Number: SNP-20-2016

Date: November 2016

Reference: Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, parts 210 and 220

Subject: Local School Wellness Policy Final Rule as of July 29, 2016


This Management Bulletin (MB) provides information and instructions for local educational agencies (LEA) on the final rule (FR) for local school wellness policy (LSWP) requirements. On July 29, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) issued the FR for the federal LSWP implementation under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) (Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations [7 CFR], parts 210 and 220), which became effective on August 29, 2016. The rule is located on the USDA FNS School Meals FR Web page at http://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/fr-072916c.

Background

The Child Nutrition and Women, Infants, and Children Reauthorization Act of 2004 mandated that all LEAs participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) were required to establish an LSWP by School Year (SY) 2006‒07. The HHFKA, Public Law 111-296, required significant changes in the child nutrition programs (CNP) to give eligible children access to nutrition benefits, improve children’s diets, and reduce childhood obesity as well as to strengthen integrity in CNPs. Section 204 of the HHFKA added Section 9A to the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (Title 47, United States Code [U.S.C.], Section 1758[b]) to expand the scope of the LSWP and requires additional stakeholder involvement in the development, implementation, and review of LSWP, and requires periodic assessment and public updates.

Proposed Rule

On February 26, 2014, the FNS issued the LSWP proposed rule. The proposed rule amended the NSLP and SBP regulations to further expand the LSWP, including the requirements for specific and measurable goals for nutrition promotion and education, and nutrition guidelines and standards for all foods and beverages for sale or available on campus. The proposed rule also established LSWP leadership requirements to ensure that each school complied with the LEA’s LSWP. Stakeholder participation in the development and implementation of LSWP, periodic assessment of compliance, and public updates on the progress towards achieving the goals of the LSWP were also included in the proposed rule.

Summary of the Changes in the FR

The LSWP FR requires all LEAs that participate in the NSLP and SBP to meet the expanded LSWP requirements consistent with the requirements set forth in Section 204 of the HHFKA. The FR requires LEAs to establish minimum content requirements for the LSWP, ensure stakeholder participation in the development and updates of policies, and periodically assess and disclose compliance with the LSWP to the public. These regulations are expected to result in LSWP policies that strengthen the ability of an LEA to create a school environment that promotes student health, well-being, and ability to learn. In addition, these regulations will increase transparency for the public with regard to the LSWP and contribute to the integrity of the School Nutrition Programs. Please refer to Attachment 1: LSWP Comparison Chart of the HHFKA versus 2016 FR Requirements as a reference for the changes in the FR.

Administrative Reviews

The USDA requires full compliance with the LSWP FR by June 30, 2017. Therefore, administrative reviews (AR) conducted during SY 2016‒17 will evaluate all LSWP requirements set prior to the LSWP FR. The ARs conducted during SY 2017‒18 will evaluate all LSWP requirements included in the LSWP FR.

LSWP Leadership

The FR requires LEAs to identify to the public the position or title of the LEA or school official(s) responsible for the LSWP oversight. Methods could include posting the information on the LEA Web page or mailing letters to families. LEAs have discretion designating the responsible person(s) for leadership. The USDA recommends that the contact information, such as phone numbers or e-mails, also be included in the public disclosure, but is not required. LEAs can locate this requirement in 7 CFR, Section 210.30(c)(4).

Public Involvement in the LSWP

As defined by the FR, 7 CFR, Section 210.30(c)(5), LEAs must allow parents, students, school food authority representatives, teachers of physical education, school health professionals, the school board, school administrators, and members of the general public to participate in the development, implementation, and periodic review and update of the LSWP. LEAs are also encouraged to include Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) coordinators or educators on the LSWP committee, as appropriate. LEAs, however, have discretion in exactly how they implement this requirement. LEAs must include a plan for involving the required stakeholders in the written LSWP.

Public Notification

The FR retains the requirement that LEAs must notify households on an annual basis of the availability of the LSWP and provide information that would enable interested households to obtain additional details. The FR provides LEAs flexibility to determine the most effective method of providing this notification within their communities. LEAs can locate this requirement in 7 CFR, Section 210.30(d)(2).

Nutrition Promotion and Education, Physical Activity, and Other School-based Activities

The FR requires the LEA to include in their LSWP specific and measurable goals for nutrition promotion and education, physical activity, and other school-based activities that promote student wellness. In developing these goals, LEAs must review and consider evidence-based strategies and techniques. At minimum, the LEA is required to review Smarter Lunchrooms Movement tools and strategies. LEAs can locate this requirement in 7 CFR, Section 210.30(c)(1).

Nutrition Guidelines for All Foods

The FR clarifies that the LSWP must include nutrition guidelines that are consistent with the federal meal standards and competitive food and beverage requirements for all food and beverage items available on the school campus during the school day. This includes food or beverage items given away or sold. The LEA has discretion in establishing food and beverage standards for items offered but not sold to students on the school campus during the school day including foods and beverages provided at classroom parties, school celebrations, or offered as rewards and incentives. LEAs simply need to have a policy in place that addresses food and beverage items provided in school, but not made available for sale. LEAs can locate this requirement in 7 CFR, Section 210.30(c)(2).

Policies for Food and Beverage Marketing

The FR clarifies that school marketing of food and beverage items must meet competitive food and beverage standards. Additionally, the FR clarifies what is and is not subject to policies for food and beverage marketing in schools.

The FR defines marketing as advertising and other promotions in schools. LEAs are required to include marketing policies in their LSWP. The LSWP marketing policies must only allow the marketing of those food and beverage items that meet the smart snack guidelines. LEAs must apply the marketing policies to products on the exterior of vending machines, posters, menu boards, coolers, trash cans, and other food service equipment, as well as cups used for beverage dispensing.

The FR does not require LEAs to immediately replace menu boards, coolers, tray liners, beverage cups, and other food service equipment with depictions of noncompliant products or logos, or remove or replace an existing scoreboard on a sports field or in a gymnasium. However, as LEAs review new contracts and consider replacing durable equipment, decisions should reflect the applicable marketing guidelines established in the LEA LSWP. LEAs can locate this requirement in 7 CFR, Section 210.30(c)(3).

Implementation, Assessments, and Updates

The FR requires each LEA to assess compliance with its LSWP within three years of their update and to make this assessment available to the public. The assessment must include, at a minimum, compliance with the LSWP, how the LSWP compares to model LSWPs, and progress made in attaining the goals of the LSWP. The FR removes the requirement for LEAs to annually report progress of LSWPs for each school. However, LEAs are required to annually notify the public about the content of the LSWP and any updates to the policy. LEAs can locate this requirement in 7 CFR, Section 210.30(e)(2).

The LEA can use a variety of methods to assess compliance with the LSWP with schools in their jurisdiction and determine progress toward benchmarks, goals, and objectives. Developing an LSWP with measurable objectives, and realistic annual benchmarks will help when it is time to evaluate progress. LEAs can access various resources on the USDA School Nutrition Environment and Wellness Resources Web page at http://healthymeals.nal.usda.gov/school-wellness-resources.

Recordkeeping

The FR establishes that records retained by the LEAs must include, at a minimum, the written LSWP, documentation demonstrating compliance with community involvement, documentation of the every three years assessment, and documentation to demonstrate compliance with the public notification requirements. LEAs can locate this requirement in 7 CFR, Section 210.30(f).

Documentation demonstrating compliance with community involvement requirements may include a copy of the invitation to participate located on the LEA’s Web page. Documentation demonstrating compliance with the every three-year assessment may include a copy of the report regarding the results of the assessment and the date the assessment was conducted. Documentation of compliance with the public notification requirements may include a copy of the LEA’s Web page where the LSWP has been posted.

Implementation Timeline

The FR requires LEAs to fully comply with the requirements of the FR by June 30, 2017 including establishing a plan for completing their first every three-year assessment no later than June 30, 2020 (and at least every three years thereafter). The CDE has attached a comparison chart that summarizes the changes made in the FR from the HHFKA, which is located in Attachment 1: LSWP Comparison Chart of the HHFKA versus 2016 FR Requirements. Also attached is a document that lists the recommended action steps for LEAs to complete for SY 2016‒17 to meet the requirements for the FR, which is located in Attachment 2: FR for LSWP, Action Steps for SY 2016‒17.

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact Heather Reed, Nutrition Education Consultant, by phone at 916-323-3581 or by e-mail at hreed@cde.ca.gov.


Local School Wellness Policies
Comparison Charts of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 versus 2016 Final Rule Requirements

Overview
Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHKFA) Local School Wellness Policy (LSWP) 2016 Final Rule (FR)
Strengthened LSWP and added rules for public input, transparency and implementation Strengthens the nutrition guidelines for foods provided outside the meal programs and further strengthens requirements for assessment

 

Elements of LSWP
Policy Component HHFKA LSWP 2016 FR
Student Wellness Goals Required local educational agencies (LEA) to include goals for nutrition education, nutrition promotion, physical activity, and other student-based activities

Adds requirement for specific, measurable goals and for LEAs to consider evidence-based strategies and techniques such as Smarter Lunchrooms Movement in the development of these goals

Adds requirement that nutrition education be part of a comprehensive health education curricula as well as recommending that it be integrated into other core subjects

Nutrition Guidelines

Required minimum federal guidelines for all foods available on school campus—and required that competitive foods and beverages sold on school campus during the school day meet the Smart Snacks in School (SSIS) standards

Requires all foods and beverages sold outside the meal programs on school campus during the school day to meet SSIS standards—and requires that all foods and beverages provided, but not sold, during classroom celebrations or as rewards have standards specified in the LEA LSWP
Marketing Not mentioned Prohibits marketing of foods that do not meet the SSIS requirements during school day on school campus

 

Stakeholder Engagement
Policy Component HHFKA LSWP 2016 FR
Stakeholder Involvement Required LEAs to involve parents, students, and representatives of the LEAs, school board, school administrators, and the public in the development of the LSWP and permit teachers of physical education and school health professionals to participate in the development

Adds encouragement for LEAs to include Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) coordinators or educators on the LSWP committee, as appropriate.

Stakeholder Participation Required LEAs to permit stakeholders to participate in the implementation, periodic review, and updates of the LSWP Adds requirement to include a plan in the written LSWP for stakeholder involvement and participation
Local Discretion Determined the LEAs had local discretion in establishing specific policies appropriate for the schools under their jurisdiction provided that those policies include all the required elements specified in the act No change

 

Transparency
Policy Component HHFKA LSWP 2016 FR
Public Notification Required LEAs to inform and update the public about the content and implementation of the LSWP

Adds requirement for LEAs to make the LSWP and any updates available to the public on

annual basis
Local Leadership and Designation Designated one or more LEA officials or school officials to ensure each school complies with the LSWP Adds requirement for LEAs to notify public about the position title of the LEA or school official(s) responsible for oversight (do not need to list contact information)

 

Measurement of Implementation
Policy Component HHFKA LSWP 2016 FR
Assessment Required LEAs to periodically measure and make available to the public an assessment on the implementation of the LSWP, including to the extent to which the LSWP compares to model LSWP and description of progress made in attaining goals of LSWP

Adds requirement for LEAs to conduct the assessment on the implementation of the

LSWP every three years (triennial basis) and to notify the public on annual basis about the progress and any updates to the LSWP

Implementation Deadlines None specified

Adds implementation deadlines as follows:

August 29, 2016, to begin meeting LSWP FR requirements

June 30, 2017, for full compliance of FR requirements

June 30, 2020, for completing the first assessment and at least every three years afterwards

Recordkeeping for Administrative Reviews

Required written LSWP (also posted in cafeteria)

Required maintaining documentation demonstrating compliance with stakeholder and community involvement

Required maintaining documentation of the assessment of the LSWP

Adds requirement for LEAs to demonstrate compliance with annual public notifications

 


Final Rule for Local School Wellness Policies
Action Steps for School Year 2016‒17

To meet the requirements for the final rule (FR), the California Department of Education (CDE) recommends that beginning in School Year (SY) 2016‒17, local educational agencies (LEA), districts, or schools:

  • Review the FR and summary of the rule on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) School Meals FR under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) Web page at http://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/fr-072916c.

  • Establish local school wellness policy (LSWP) leadership of one or more LEA or school official(s) who have the authority and responsibility to ensure each school complies with the policy. Make sure the position or title of the LSWP leader(s) is made available to the public by June 30, 2017. Some suggestions for public notification include posting the information on the LEA Web page or sending out the information through district correspondence.

  • Build or re-engage your district wellness committee, making sure to invite the various stakeholders to participate—be sure to collect documentation of community involvement. The California LSWP Collaborative has developed a School Wellness Committee Guide located on the Dairy Council of California School Wellness LSWP Web page at http://www.healthyeating.org/Schools/School-Wellness/School-Wellness-Policies.aspx.

  • Continue to inform and update the public about the content, implementation, and assessment of wellness policies. By June 30, 2017, LEAs must update the public annually. By SY 2019‒20, LEAs must conduct and report on the triennial assessment of wellness policies. Keep a contact log as documentation.

  • Update the LSWP to meet the requirements in the FR by the June 30, 2017. The CDE recommends using the model LSWP policy template from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which is located on the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Take Action Schools Wellness Committees Policies Web page at https://www.healthiergeneration.org/take_action/schools/wellness_committees__policies/. A best practice is to tailor the language in the model policy to fit local priorities and resources. The San Diego County Obesity Prevention Initiative Resources Policy Clearinghouse Web page at http://www.ourcommunityourkids.org/resources/policy-clearinghouse.aspx has a policy clearinghouse that provides useful examples of policy language. The CDE recommends the Well SAT 2.0 tool for assessing the strength of the policy language as it compares to model policy. The tool can be accessed on the Well SAT Web site at http://www.wellsat.org/.

  • Begin the process for conducting an assessment by developing a work plan to complete the assessment by the deadline for compliance of three years after updating the LSWP or no later than June 30, 2020. The CDE recommends using the School Health Index (SHI) as an assessment tool. The SHI can be accessed on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Web page at https://nccd.cdc.gov/DASH_SHI/default/Login.aspx.

  • Develop or update the LSWP implementation plan and begin monitoring progress to meet the deadline for compliance of June 30, 2017. Consult the resources on the USDA FNS Implementation Tools and Resources Web page at http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/implementation-tools-and-resources.

  • Keep all supporting documentation on file as LEAs will be held accountable for LSWP implementation, assessment, and public updates.

  • Visit the CDE LSWP Web page often at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/he/wellness.asp, as the CDE will continue to update resources. Another resource is the California LSWP Colloborative Web page located on the Dairy Council of California School Wellness Web page at http://www.healthyeating.org/Schools/School-Wellness.aspx
Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Friday, December 2, 2016
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