|DATE:||March 9, 2021|
|MEMO CODE:||COVID–19: Child Nutrition Response #81|
|SUBJECT:||Nationwide Waiver to Waive First Week Site Visits in the Summer Food Service Program for Summer 2021 Operations – EXTENSION 3 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 summer. This waiver extends the Nationwide Waiver of First Week Site Visits in the Summer Food Service Program – EXTENSION 2 – granted on Oct. 9, 2020, that expires on June 30, 2021– through Sept. 30, 2021. This waiver extension applies to the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).
Section 2202(a) of the FFCRA permits the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a waiver for all states for the purposes of providing meals and meal supplements under the child nutrition programs with appropriate safety measures with respect to COVID–19, as determined by the Secretary.
Under program regulations at 7 CFR 225.15(d)(2), SFSP sponsors are required to visit each of their sites at least once during the first week of operation under the program. However, FNS recognizes that in this public health emergency, continuing the waiver of first week site visits would reduce administrative burden on state agencies and sponsors and would ensure appropriate social distancing safety measures for the purpose of providing meals and meal supplements during the summer months.
Therefore, pursuant to the FFCRA authority cited above, FNS extends, for all states that elect to be subject to this waiver, the waiver of those requirements at 7 CFR 225.15(d)(2), which require sponsors to visit each of their sites at least once during the first week of operation under the program, for sites that have operated successfully in the previous year and sponsors that successfully participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program or the National School Lunch Program. This waiver is effective July 1, 2021, and remains in effect through Sept. 30, 2021.
Consistent with section 2202(a)(2) of the FFCRA, this waiver applies automatically to all states that elect to use it, without further application. State agencies must inform their regional office if they elect to be subject to the waiver. 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 this summer. Prior elections and approvals will continue under this extension; no further action is needed.
Please note, state agencies that have already received a traditional SFSP waiver of the first week site visit requirements may elect to be covered by this nationwide waiver during the COVID-19 emergency, in place of their traditional waiver. As previously determined, the traditional SFSP waivers will remain in effect through April 30, 2022, or until FNS publishes a final regulation that supersedes the approval, whichever comes first. Therefore, there is no need for state agencies to withdraw those requests or resubmit a request.
As required by Section 2202(d) of FFCRA, 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