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SSO Site Application Updates Summer 2022

The California Department of Education (CDE) recognizes the challenges that school food authorities (SFA) face while preparing to operate summer meal programs in 2022. To help support you, we are providing instructions on how to complete or revise your application packet in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) for the summer of 2022.

Important Information

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has not extended any Area Eligibility waivers. COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #85, which originally waived area eligibility requirements and allowed SFAs to operate the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) will expire at the end of the SFA’s regular school year, or June 30, 2022, whichever date comes first. For more information regarding the expiration of these current flexibilities, please visit the USDA Food and Nutrition Service web page External link opens in new window or tab..

In order to participate in the SSO after the end of the regular school year, sites must be within the geographical boundaries of a school attendance area with at least 50 percent of its children approved for free or reduced-price meals. For more information on qualifying for SSO, please visit the CDE’s Area Eligibility in Child Nutrition Programs management bulletin.

SFAs must submit a revised SSO application if they intend to continue serving under the SSO for summer feeding.

Area Eligibility Flexibilities in Summer 2022

For those sites unable to qualify for SSO using current school data or census data, the USDA is offering two additional data options that sites may use to qualify as area eligible for summer 2022. In order to utilize these flexibilities, a site must have been operating SSO during the 2021–22 school year. If a non-school site wishes to utilize these flexibilities, they must be located in an attendance zone of a school that operated SSO in the 2021–22 school year. Please contact your School Nutrition Programs analyst if you plan to utilize one of the following flexibilities:

  1. School year 2019–20 free and reduced-price meal (FRPM) data: Program operators may use school data from school year 2019–20 to qualify as area eligible in summer 2022 and school year 2022–23. If a site qualifies using this option, please note this area eligibility determination is only effective through summer 2024 and school year 2024–25.

    Additionally, FRPM data from school year 2020–21 can be used to determine area eligibility and would be effective through summer 2025 and school year 2025–26. To determine eligibility for your school site please visit the CDE’s Free or Reduced-Price Meal (Student Poverty) Data web page.

  2. Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) data: Program operators may use site specific identified student percentage (ISP) data to qualify. If the product of a site’s ISP multiplied by 1.6 is equal to, or greater than 50 percent, the site is area eligible. For sites currently approved to operate the CEP, the individual site’s established ISP must be used. For sites not currently approved to operate CEP, a calculation of your site’s ISP must be provided to confirm eligibility. This calculation must include the total number of enrolled students at the school site and the number of students directly certified for free meals, or certified as homeless, migrant, runaway, foster or Head Start. For more information on calculating the ISP, please visit the CDE’s CEP online training External link opens in new window or tab.. If a site qualifies using this option, please note this eligibility is only effective through summer 2022 and school year 2022–23.

How to Complete the SSO Application for Summer 2022

There are five areas of the SSO application in CNIPS that must be revised in order to continue claiming meals under the SSO for summer feeding. Please note that only sites that meet area eligibility requirements for the SSO should be making the revisions requested below.

#16 Service Dates and Times: If this is an existing SSO site application extending the service days into summer feeding, the start date should reflect the first day of summer feeding.

  • For example, if your last day of school is 6/3/2022 and your first day of summer school is 6/13/2022, the start date in item #16 should be 6/13/2022. The end date should be the last day of summer feeding.

#18 Number of Service Days: This section will need to reflect the TOTAL operating days in the month, regardless of regular school year or summer feeding under SSO. Failure to accurately reflect the total number of operating days in the month will create an error in your CNIPS claim for reimbursement. Additionally, please ensure data is not removed from previous months (October–May) in this section, as this will also create an error when claiming for the remainder of the regular school year.

  • For example, the start date in item #16 may be 6/13/2022 but the number of days in #18 for June will need to be 22; this count is for regular school days from 6/1/202 –6/10/2022 and the summer operational days.

#19 Site Type: An SFA can operate an Open, Restricted Open, Closed-Enrolled in Needy Area, Day Camp, Residential Camp, or National Youth Sports Program for the summer of 2022. More information on SSO site types is available on the CDE’s Site Types, Eligibility and Outreach Requirements web page. The USDA has waived the requirement that program operators use meal applications to determine area eligibility for closed-enrolled sites. Area eligible summer school sites can operate as closed-enrolled in summer 2022.

#20: Eligibility Method All fields must be completed for sites using school data. The school site must be at least 50 percent needy in order to qualify for SSO. SFAs can refer to the California Department of Education’s Unduplicated Student Poverty—Free or Reduced-Price Meals Data spreadsheet.

#21 Closed Site Justification: If the site is continuing as a closed-enrolled in needy area site, please update the justification to say “Summer 2022 CA Waiver.

Sites not Eligible to Participate in SSO

If a school site is not eligible to participate in the SSO, SFAs may provide meals to summer school students under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). SFAs operating the NSLP and SBP for summer meal service will need to establish eligibility for the students in attendance and claim all meals accordingly under the NSLP/SBP. Eligibility can be established through collecting meal applications and conducting direct certification. Eligibility cannot be established through alternative income forms.

Please note that under current USDA guidance, eligibility determinations for summer school operations expire when the 2022–23 school year begins. New eligibility will need to be established again for school year 2022–23. The USDA has indicated that they are developing guidance related to this challenge. The CDE will issue updated guidance as soon as it is received from the USDA.

When transitioning back to NSLP and SBP operations for summer school, please note that public schools, charter schools and county offices of education may begin providing two meals (breakfast and lunch) each summer school day, starting July 1, and receive the universal meals state reimbursement. It’s important to note, schools are not mandated to implement universal meals and begin offering two meals each school day until their regular 2022–23 school year starts, but if an eligible site chooses to implement this mandate early then they will receive the additional Universal Meals funding and students should not be charged for reduced-price and paid meals to comply with paid lunch equity (PLE) requirements. If your site is not eligible for universal meals funding, or you choose not to provide the two meals each school day then you would need to either qualify for a PLE exemption or establish paid lunch prices. Please visit the CDE’s Paid Lunch Equity Exemption Guidance web page. For any additional questions regarding PLE, or to request an exemption, please contact the Resource Management Unit at

Resources and Contact Information

If you have any questions or need assistance regarding applying for the SSO, please contact your SNP Specialist. The SNP Specialist list is available in the CNIPS Download Forms section, Form ID Caseload. You may also contact an SNP Office Technician by phone at 916-322-3005, or call 800-952-5609, Option 2, to be directed to your SNP Specialist.

For CNIPS technical questions, please contact the CNIPS Help Desk by phone at 800-952-5609, Option 6, or by email at

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, May 25, 2022
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