Department of Agriculture Issued Nationwide Waivers for Summer Nutrition Program

On June 22, 2020, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) published a technical assistance webpage to help schools consider important summer nutrition program opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Programs like Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Options (SSO) aim to provide free, nutritious meals and snacks to help children get the nutrition they need when school is not in session.

In response to the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued the following nationwide waivers to support access to nutritious meals while minimizing potential exposure to the novel coronavirus.

  1. Non-congregate Feeding Waiver allows SFSP, National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACF) sponsors to serve non-congregate meals until Aug. 31, 2020.
  2. Meal Times Waiver allows NSLP, SBP, and CACF sponsors to provide multiple meals at the same time, for up to one week at a time, through August 31, 2020.
  3. Meal Pattern Waiver allows NSLP, SBP, CACF, and SFSP sponsors to waive specific meal pattern requirements as needed to support access to nutritious meals when certain foods are not available due to the pandemic through July 31, 2020 by application.
  4. Parent and Guardian Meal Pick-up Waiver allows parents and guardians to pick up meals for their children.1 
  5. Food Service Management Company (FSMC) Contract Duration Waiver allows FSMCs to extend their contracts with all state agencies, school food authorities, and SFSP through June 30, 2021.
  6. Child Nutrition Monitoring Waivers provides flexibility to certain onsite monitoring requirements for NSLP, SBP, CACF, and SFSP.
  7. Area Eligibility Waiver allows school food authorities in good standing to operate open sites under either SFSP or SSO through Aug. 31, 2020.2
  8. First Week Site Visit Waiver exempts SFSP sponsors from conducting first week site visits.
  9. Meal Service Times Waiver allows SFSP, NSLP, and SSO sponsors to serve meals outside of the standard meal times until Sept. 30, 2020.
  10. Offer Versus Serve Flexibility Waiver allows sites to offer all food components to a child and the child may decline a certain number of food components until Sept. 30, 2020.

The ODE resource page linked above has more information on Ohio’s policies regarding nutrition, advance payments request, and the operation of day camps. Taft strives to provide legal updates on issues impacting our clients. Please reach out to us with any questions or if we can be of assistance in these unprecedented times.

1Ohio’s policy provides more information and guidance on parental pick-up.

2Ohio’s policy provides more information and guidance on area eligibility. 

Please visit our COVID-19 Toolkit for all of Taft’s updates on the coronavirus.

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