Tuesday, 3 Oct, 2023

School Meal Waivers Expire in Less Than Two Months

The school meal waivers are set to expire in less than two months and will affect 30 million children. Republicans have voiced opposition to the bill, but it may go deeper than McConnell's. Stabenow's stand-alone bill has two GOP cosponsors. Summer programs will begin this month in some school districts. Whether this legislation passes will depend on how many states and school districts are willing to comply with the waiver.

SMP parent pick-up

If you are a parent and you are interested in allowing your child to receive a free nutritious lunch, the USDA has a program known as SMP parent pick-up for nutrition. The waiver enables your child to receive the milk and other fresh produce that are available in school nutrition programs. However, there are some restrictions that apply to the program. For example, if your child attends a private school or does not attend the same school as the other children in your program, you cannot participate in the SMP parent pick-up.

To implement the new program, you must first obtain a waiver from the USDA Food and Nutrition Services. The USDA Food and Nutrition Services will enforce the waiver by implementing recommendations made by public health experts. To apply for a waiver, you must follow the guidance of CSDE and submit a Sponsor Waiver Application. CSDE has extensive technical assistance and training to help you run a successful program. It will also help you respond to challenges like COVID-19 outbreaks and shortages of staff.

SSO seamless summer option

The United States Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service has released a report examining school meal programs, highlighting the negative effects of staffing challenges and supply chain disruptions. The report also noted that almost ninety percent of school districts used the Seamless Summer Option nutrition waiver to provide free meals for students and higher reimbursement rates for school food authorities. Moreover, the report found that the number of children who receive free meals increased by 20 percent during the summer months compared to those who did not.

The SSO is a federally funded program combining the features of the School Breakfast Program and the National School Lunch Program. It is only available for public and private schools that participate in the NSLP. The LEAs implementing the program must serve meals to students in summer school or at community sites, and extend the NSLP/SBP for the duration of the summer. During the summer, the program will be offered at different sites, including schools and community centers.

SSO allows schools to use a point-of-sale system or check sheet to count the number of meals served at their open or closed-campus sites. Its reimbursement is based on the maximum free rate, regardless of the student's previous free, reduced, or paid status. Schools using a point of sale system must not identify children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals by overtly labeling their meals.

A key feature of the SFSP is the elimination of federal limits on the time meals must be served. In addition, the SFSP waiver extends the previous Waiver #1 by one year. The new waiver takes effect on July 1, 2020, and will last until September 30, 2021. Furthermore, SFSP-sponsored meal patterns will apply from July 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021. The SFSP waiver also supports schools that cannot complete their triennial assessment by June 30, 2020. The SFSP also provides a new triennial assessment deadline of June 30, 2021.

SFSP monitoring waiver

While a SFSP monitoring waiver allows sponsors to perform site reviews virtually or offsite, the requirement to review a sponsor's compliance is still a must for the program. While the waiver allows sponsors to conduct annual or pre-approval site reviews, sponsors should still conduct remote monitoring to ensure compliance with the program. The SFSP monitoring waiver also requires sponsors to complete two site reviews, one unannounced and one pre-operational, during the first six months of operations.

SFSP sponsors must explain their bulk meal distribution system, including portion sizes and patterns. Additionally, they must describe how they will monitor off-site operations, such as monitoring production records and paperwork daily. Lastly, they must describe a system for targeting eligible children. Ultimately, the SFSP monitoring waiver should prevent interruptions in the program. A waiver is only granted if a sponsor is returning to a site for the second time and continues to operate the program successfully.

The ODE CNP will use its existing SSO and SFSP processes to ensure compliance. Any sponsor identified with integrity issues will be required to work with the state agency to develop a corrective action plan. A follow-up review will be scheduled to ensure that sponsors are following compliance with the program's rules. The SFSP monitoring waiver is set to take effect in FY 2022. Meanwhile, the ODE CNP will continue to provide technical assistance for non-congregate meals and transition back to congregate meal service.

While the ODE CNP may face administrative challenges and lack of staffing resources, the program operator can use the SFSP and SSO monitoring waivers to overcome the challenges and provide meals to children who need them. The flexibility provided by the waivers allows state operators to allocate limited staffing resources to preparing for an emergency or a pandemic, while allowing them to focus their efforts on serving meals to children. They also allow operators to implement necessary safety measures and mitigate risks.

CSDE public health emergency waivers

A COVID-19 waiver allows CACFP operators to continue serving meals to students even when local economic conditions are not so bad. It also waives administrative review requirements for state agencies and allows program operators to modify meal service models. The waiver enables the program to continue serving meals to students while meeting COVID-19 supply chain disruptions. In addition, it allows for increased flexibility and safety for program participants. To apply for a COVID-19 waiver, please complete the application online.

The Continuing Appropriations Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act extended this legislation. During these times of crisis, CSDE is allowing states to apply for waivers to serve meals more efficiently and in a more flexible manner. In addition, CSDE has approved all three waivers in the COVID-19 policy. Whether or not your state qualifies for a waiver is dependent on the specifics of your state.

A CSDE Public Health Emergency Nutrition Waiver is available to states and local governments that wish to implement emergency nutrition programs. In most cases, the waivers require that the Program operator contact the state agency to receive approval. The waiver must address specific nutritional needs and standards. Program operators must continue to conduct desk audits and offsite monitoring. This waiver is only effective if the local program operator submits all required paperwork to the CSDE.

The new CSDE has also issued new guidelines for COVID-19. The CSDE has approved a modified version of the waiver. COVID-19 allows sponsors to contact applicants quarterly or biannually if the emergency situation requires it. The state will monitor the program's performance through the administrative review regulations and corresponding 7 CFR 225 and 226 requirements. The waiver is effective until the dates on the attached document are reached.