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Request to Waive Requirements

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Main Web Page

On March 7, 2020, the California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division (NSD) received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to allow program operators, in good standing, to serve meals through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) during unanticipated school closures as a result of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The waiver allows meals to be served at school and non-school sites, and in a noncongregate setting.

This waiver is effective immediately and enables approved sponsors to allow meals to be taken away from the site and consumed elsewhere, thereby allowing for social distancing.

In order to use this waiver, program operators must submit a request to the CDE. Waiver requests must address the specifics of how the program operator will operate the SFSP or SSO during an unanticipated school closure due to COVID-19, and must include the following:

  • Name of school(s) covered by waiver request
  • At what point following school dismissal the meal service would start
  • What meal distribution method(s) the institution will use and how the waiver will target the children in the dismissed schools
  • How the meal distribution will target low-income children, if the school does not have 50 percent or more free and reduced-price children enrolled
  • Methods for communicating with families
  • How the program operator will ensure proper operation of the program including meal content, meal counts, food safety, and oversight.

Program operators must submit their requests to waive the requirements for an unanticipated school closure due to COVID-19, to the CDE School Nutrition Programs Unit. Contact information is provided below. This waiver is valid until June 30, 2020. If a public health emergency continues beyond June 30, the CDE will request an extension from the USDA.


For information on our COVID-19 noncongregate feeding waiver for schools please refer to the USDA Newsroom web page External link opens in new window or tab..

For information on School Guidance on Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 please refer to the State of California-Heath and Human Services Agency web page External link opens in new window or tab..

For information on serving meals that meet the SFSP meal pattern requirements refer to the CDE SFSP Meal Patterns Guidance and Sample Menus web page.

For information dissemination for schools for emergencies please refer to the Readiness and Emergency Management website External link opens in new window or tab..

For information on USDA Disaster Assistance please refer to Food and Nutrition Service Disaster Assistance web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Contact Information

Please submit all waivers to the School Nutrition Programs email at

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, March 25, 2020
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