|DATE:||October 9, 2020|
|POLICY MEMO:||COVID–19: Child Nutrition Response #61|
|SUBJECT:||Nationwide Waiver to Allow Non-congregate Feeding in the Summer Food Service Program and the National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option – Extension 5 1|
Special Nutrition Programs
Child Nutrition Programs
Pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the FFCRA) (PL 116-127), as extended by the Continuing Appropriations Act 2021 and Other Extensions Act (PL 116-159), and based on the exceptional circumstances of this public health emergency, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is extending a nationwide waiver to support access to nutritious meals while minimizing potential exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID–19). This waiver extends the Nationwide Waiver to Allow Non-congregate Feeding in the Summer Food Service Program- Extension 4—granted on Aug. 31, 2020, which expires on Dec. 31, 2020— through June 30, 2021, in conjunction with the Nationwide Waiver to Allow Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option Operations through School Year 2020-21 – Extension, granted Oct. 9, 2020. This waiver extension applies to the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Seamless Summer Option (SSO).
Section 2202(a) of the FFCRA permits the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a waiver for all states for the purposes of providing meals under the child nutrition programs, with appropriate safety measures, as determined by the Secretary.
Under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act at 42 USC 1753(b)(1)(A), 42 USC 1761(a)(1)(D) and program regulations at 7 CFR 225.6(e)(15), SFSP and SSO meals must be served in a congregate setting and must be consumed by participants on site. However, FNS recognizes that in this public health emergency, waiving the congregate meal requirements is vital to ensure appropriate safety measures for the purpose of providing meals and meal supplements.
Therefore, pursuant to the FFCRA authority cited above, FNS waives, for all states, the requirements at 42 USC 1753(b)(1)(A), 42 USC 1761(a)(1)(D) and 7 CFR 225.6(e)(15) to serve meals through the SFSP and SSO in a congregate setting. Any other requirements referenced in these provisions remain in effect. This waiver is effective immediately, supersedes the previous extension, and remains in effect through June 30, 2021, in conjunction with the Nationwide Waiver to Allow Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option Operations through School Year 2020-21 – Extension, granted October 9, 2020.
Consistent with Section 2202(a)(2) of the FFCRA, this waiver applies automatically to all states that elect to use it, without further application. If the state agency elects to implement these flexibilities, it must notify its respective FNS regional office, which will acknowledge receipt. State agencies should inform local program operators of the flexibilities provided by this waiver as quickly as possible, and work in partnership with local operators to provide meals to all participants in a safe and accessible manner. Elections and approvals under the initial waiver will continue under this extension; no further action is needed.
As required by Section 2202(d), each state that elects to be subject to this waiver must submit a report to the Secretary not later than 1 year after the date such state received the waiver. The report must include:
- A summary of the use of this waiver by the state agency and local program operators, and
- A description of whether and how this waiver resulted in improved services to program participants.
FNS appreciates the exceptional effort of state agencies and local program operators working to meet the nutritional needs of participants during a challenging time. State agencies should direct questions to the appropriate FNS regional office.
Angela M. Kline
Policy and Program Development Division