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See OSPI’s COVID-19 guidance and resources for educators, students, and families.

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Nutrition & Meals Guidance

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person-to-person and the number of cases in Washington is growing. Below are guidance and resources for school districts to use as they continue to provide meals during school closures. 

USDA Extends the Option to Operate Summer Meal Programs Through SY20-21

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the extension of several flexibilities to allow free meals to be available to all children through the 2020-21 school year. Please review our CNS Update for more details. 

Find a Meal Site Near You

The need for meals has grown due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Child Nutrition Programs can help provide children with nutritious meals all year long. Please share the OSPI Organizations Providing Meals Map and help others find locations serving meals to children. 

Program Resources

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) extended several waivers allowing Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) operations to continue through June 30, 2021. October 1 started a new program year and a renewal application must be completed by October 31 if they wish to claim meals for the month of October. 

Operating CACFP During COVID-19 Resources

If you regularly operate the Child and Adult Care Program (CACFP) during the year, there are options for you to continue serving reimbursable meals during the COVID-19 Pandemic in FY2021. Please contact your CACFP program specialist for more details.

Renewal Information

Reference Sheets, FAQ's, and Other Resources

SY20-21 Reopening Guidance 

WA State & USDA COVID-19 Waivers & Policy Memos

Washington State is requesting an extension of USDA’s extension of the parents/guardian pick-up waiver for school meals programs in SY 20-21 to the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) during the pandemic.

Washington State is requesting Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) operation to be extended to additional sites.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) requests a waiver to allow service of meals using the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) or the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) through School Year (SY) 2020–21 for School Food Authorities (SFAs) operating the NSLP and SBP in good standing. Additionally, SFAs utilizing the SSO or SFSP flexibility for SY 2020–21 would also be allowed to continue using the area eligibility waiver which has been in effect for Washington since April 2020.

Washington State is requesting a waiver to allow At-Risk Program sponsors to claim up to three meals per day (2 meals and 1 snack or 3 meals) for programs offering extended-day childcare during the COVID pandemic. 

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) requests to waive the regulatory requirement for potable water in the NSLP in non-cafeteria feeding sites, including non-congregate sites, online, or blended scenarios due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Requirement under section 9(a) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act 42 USC 1758(a), 7 CFR 210.10(a)(i): NSLP meals must make potable water available to children at no charge in the place where lunch meals are served during the meal service.

Washington State is requesting to waive the requirements for establishing a base year during school year 20-21 for sponsors operating Provision 2. 

Washington State is requesting a waiver extension of USDA's COVID-19 Child Nutrition Response #7 Nationwide Waiver of Monitoring Requirements for Sponsors in the Child and Adult Care Food Program. This waiver currently allows sponsoring organizations to review sites remotely until August 31, 2020. OSPI is requesting an extension through September 20, 2021. 

The Office of the Superintendent is requesting a waiver from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to waive the review requirements for school food authorities operating the Summer Food Service Program for the first time. This waiver would allow OSPI to implement  an alternate process to review and provide technical assistance to sponsors.

OSPI is seeking this waiver to reduce administrative burden and allow for continuing support to sponsors providing meals during the COVID 19 pandemic.

On 4/21, OSPI requested a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reduce the minimum enrollment thresholds for CACFP For-Profit Centers. Centers are facing changing enrollment factors as many non-essential workers are ordered to stay home. For-profit childcare centers may not claim reimbursement for meals served to children in any month in which less than 25% of the children in care qualify for free or reduced-price meals, this waiver would allow centers to claim the children they are serving, even if they are not meeting the threshold. 

According to section 2202(a) of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the Act) (P.L. 116-127) and Other Extensions Act (P.L. 116-159), and in light of the exceptional circumstances of this public health emergency, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) granted the following nationwide waivers to help minimize potential exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

  • SP 01, CACFP 01, SFSP01-2021 - Questions and Answers Relating to the Nationwide Waiver to Allow Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option Operations through School Year 2020-21 - Extension - Q&As #2 
  • COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #58 - Nationwide Waiver of Area Eligibility in the CACFP At Risk Afterschool Care Component.
     
  • SP25, CACFP14, SFSP14-2020: Questions and Answers Relating to the Nationwide Waiver to Allow Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option Operations through December 2020.
    • This memo reviews common questions for Child Nutrition Program operations in fall 2020.
  • COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #57 -  Nationwide Waiver to Allow Reimbursement for Meals Served Prior to Notification of Approval and Provide Flexibility for Pre-Approval Visits in the Summer Food Service Program 
  • COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #48 - Nationwide Waiver to Allow Area Eligibility for Closed Enrolled Sites in the SFSP and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Seamless Summer Option (SSO) - Extension
  • SP 24, CACFP 13, SFSP 13-2020: Questions and Answers for the Child Nutrition Programs during School Year 2020-21 - #5
    • This memo reviews common questions and answers regarding school reopening, meal patterns, potable water, Child Care and Afterschool requirements. 
  • SP 23-2020: Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Operations for SY 2020-21 during COVID-19
    • This memo reviews common questions and answers regarding the operation of FFVP during the 2020-21 SY. 
  • COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #31: Nationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements for State Agencies in the Summer Food Service Program – EXTENSION through August 31, 2020
  • COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #30: Nationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements for Sponsoring Organizations in the Summer Food Service Program – EXTENSION through August 31, 2021.
  • COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #29: Nationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements in the School Meals Programs – Revised – EXTENSION through August 31, 2020

    • This waiver applies to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP).
    • This waiver allows OSPI CNS to conduct Administrative Reviews as a desk audit and waives the requirement for on-site visits for reviews during the emergency.
    • Washington state will participate in this waiver.
  • COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #28: Nationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements for State Agencies in the Child and Adult Care Food Program – EXTENSION through August 31, 2020
  • COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #27: Nationwide Waiver of Monitoring Requirements for Sponsors in the Child and Adult Care Food Program – EXTENSION through August 31, 2020
    • Under this waiver, sponsors are allowed to :
      • Conduct 2 facility reviews, instead of 3.
      • Conduct 1 unannounced visit, instead of 2.
      • Not observe a meal service.
      • Have more than 6 months between reviews.
      • Review new facilities as a desk review.
      • Washington state will participate in this waiver.
      • Sponsors must notify OSPI CNS if they intend to participate in this waiver. Please keep an eye out in the weekly updates for these instructions
      • CORRECTION: This waiver is not extended, but remains in effect until August 31, 2020. 
  • SP 21-2020, CACFP12-2020, SFSP 12-2020: Q&A Related to Food Service Management Company Contracts and Allowable Costs during the COVID-19 Pandemic
    • This memo reviews common questions and answers for sponsors working with a FSMC. 
    • Topics include: Contracts and Other Contracted Suppliers, Monitoring, and Allowable Costs. 
    • If you have questions, please email Jeff Booth
  • COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #23 - Nationwide Waiver to Meal Time Flexibility in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and Child and Adult Care Food Program - EXTENSION
  • This waiver allows Food Service Management Company (FSMC) contracts that expire around June 30, 2020 to be extended through school year 2020-2021; the contract extension is limited to one year only.
  • If your district would like to participate in this waiver, please email Jeff Booth.
  • This waiver expires September 30, 2020. 
  • You must inform OSPI CNS if your district chooses to implement this waiver by June 30, 2020
    • COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #8 - Nationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements for State Agencies in the Child and Adult Care Food Program  - In effect until June 30, 2020

    • COVID–19: Child Nutrition Response #6 - Nationwide Waiver of Community Eligibility Provision Deadlines in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs  - In effect until August 31, 2020


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