School nutrition advocates lobbied state education chiefs and district superintendents to pass a nutrition waiver. These groups included principals, teachers, and community organizations. They sent tens of thousands of letters to their elected officials advocating for a nutrition waiver. Some state education officials were also influenced by the plight of school nutrition directors and urged waivers. However, the federal government's refusal to grant the waiver ultimately killed the program.
USDA has recently rescinded some flexibility for school nutrition programs, but has now reinstated these flexibilities, such as the ability to serve meals on the weekend, and allowing sites to serve meals at any time during the school day. This will help alleviate some of the administrative burdens on school sponsors and SFSP Sponsors. The USDA waiver will also eliminate meal-time restrictions, which will enable more children to receive nutritious meals during the summer months.
The new waiver applies to SFSP program year 2022, and will be in effect from May 1 through September 30, 2022. In order to maintain program continuity, the waiver will also ensure that participants receive healthy, nutritional meals and snacks. The application must be submitted before March 11, 2020. Those interested in applying for this waiver should register today! Interested parties should register in advance to receive training and information on this important program. You must also register to attend the bi-weekly webinar on May 5.
Waivers are available for School Year 2021-2022 and CACFP operators. These waivers also extend the deadline for local wellness policy assessments. They also waive administrative review requirements for state agencies. They will also eliminate the fiscal penalty associated with meal pattern violations that resulted from COVID-19 supply chain disruptions. The waiver will continue through SFSP 2022, and may be retroactive to the date of the state agency's notification.
Summer Food Service Program is a federally funded and state-administered program that ensures that low-income children in the US have access to nutritious meals and snacks throughout the summer. In addition to the summer school program, a variety of other programs are administered in the state and local level. Interested individuals may also receive a summary sheet on the program. These programs are incredibly underutilized in the state of Iowa.
During the regular school year, SFAs may serve meals free or reduced-priced. The Seamless Summer Option is available to any school regardless of whether it participates in the National School Lunch Program. The Seamless Summer Option waiver takes effect July 1, 2021, and is effective until June 30, 2022. The SFSP reimburses enrolled sites for meals served to eligible students. These payments are different from NSLP reimbursement rates. For more information, visit the Claims, Fiscal Information, and Resources web page.
Schools that participate in the SSO must adhere to certain requirements regarding the food service operations that must be conducted during the school year, including a review of meal pattern, counting, and administrative checks. SSO meal patterns may also include the sale of a la carte items that meet certain requirements. The program must comply with the requirements of the SBP and NSLP meal patterns. Schools that operate SSOs must follow the meal patterns set by the SBP and NSLP.
The state agencies should inform their school food authorities of the benefits of using the SSO nutrition waiver, which is covered under Section 2202(a)(2) of the FFCRA. They should work with school food authorities to serve meals in an accessible, safe manner. They can serve meals through SSO or choose to participate under school meal programs. The federal government will acknowledge receipt of this notification by March 11, 2020. The SSO nutrition waiver will be in place for four years.
The SSO program is free for children under 18 years old. It is a great opportunity for schools that wish to serve free meals for children. These meals are typically provided during summer vacations or extended periods of vacation greater than 10 school days. In addition to the SSO nutrition waiver, SFAs participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) are also eligible. The program is supported by the NSLP e-learning course.
The SFA is also required to visit SSO sites at least once during the program's operation. They also must verify compliance with menu planning and meal counting requirements. During a school week, SSO sites must conduct at least one of these required site visits. These visits are conducted onsite. However, if you are a new SSO sponsor, you must first apply for the program. You must meet certain requirements for the application.
Food stamp programs are subject to federal laws and regulations. The Food Stamp Programs must comply with federal technology laws that protect PII. The federal law mandates that the operator uses secure methods for maintaining privacy of PII. There are several other requirements that SSOs must adhere to. However, they do not have to be CEPs to qualify for the program. It is important to note that this program will be available in all 50 states, so the SSO nutrition waiver may be the right option for your school.
Meal pattern flexibility
Meal pattern flexibility and nutrition waiver are available to schools that serve food other than a traditional school cafeteria. This waiver provides flexibility to schools that serve alternative meal service models and/or social distancing. FNS expects schools to adhere to meal pattern standards, but recognizes that some are unable to meet the standards. Using the waiver allows school nutrition programs to maintain nutrition standards while incorporating different meal service models.
For schools that want to implement COVID-19, the USDA has issued memos, waivers, and guidance that may help. Check the Nutrition Program Bulletins for additional information. You can also use the CDC's resources for child care, youth programs, and schools. Here are some helpful resources for meal service during COVID-19. You can use these resources to make informed decisions when implementing this waiver for your school.
Meal pattern flexibility and nutrition waiver requirements vary depending on the program. NFSP and SSO have two-meal limits, while CACFP and School Breakfast Program allow one-snack and breakfast restrictions. The requirements for meal pattern flexibility and nutrition waiver vary by program, but in general, a school is allowed to serve more than one grade group. Applicants need to meet certain requirements to qualify. The application deadline is August 16, 2021.
The NFSP provides the most flexibility to sponsors, but it is not the only source of federal support for meal service. A COVID-virus pandemic can impede the provision of a nutritious lunch program. The impact on meal service may include staffing and supply chain issues. Schools that follow local health department and school district recommendations are also eligible for the waiver. Once approved, meal service can resume as normal, and food safety standards will continue to be met.
The health crisis associated with COVID-19 continued in Oregon during the 2021-2022 school year. Sponsors continue to struggle with erratic food availability and supply chain issues. However, meal pattern compliance has been met as best as possible. However, the meal service arrangements are not consistent across grade levels and age groups. For these reasons, meal pattern flexibility and nutrition waiver are required in a school's NSLP.
Priority approval system
The Act outlines a priority approval system for a nutrition waiver, and states must ensure that waivers do not duplicate services and consider their resources and capabilities. In this context, school food authorities must be given top priority, especially during the school year. Each state is required to notify the FNS regional office if it is subject to a waiver. In addition, state agencies must provide information to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) when the waiver is in effect, so that it can monitor sponsor performance.
The PDE, DFN, and DOE review all waiver requests and grant them based on targeted inability to procure products. Once a waiver is approved, the PDE notifies the Program operator and provides technical assistance to the program. Sponsors must provide written household consent and ensure that meals will be served prior to obtaining PDE approval. Only meal types that meet these criteria may qualify for reimbursement, and the meals must be delivered at least five days a week.
During the past two years, USDA has extended several SNAP waivers. During the first period, it approved waivers that allowed states to extend certification periods for SNAP households through June 2021. The second phase of the waiver process is streamlined and limited. USDA will begin approving waivers in September 2020 for some states. Then, it will extend the waiver process through December 2021 for states whose eligibility is set to end in October 2020.
In addition to the revised eligibility rules, the SFSP and SSO programs will continue to serve the community. The waiver allows state agencies to reimburse sponsors for meals served prior to notification of approval. While pre-approval visits are not mandatory, the state agencies may still conduct them to assess the sponsor's ability to operate a successful program. The state agencies will also visit applicant sponsors to confirm the accuracy of their information. The state agencies review sponsor applications based on these criteria.