FNS administers the school-based Child Nutrition (CN) Programs (i.e., the school meal programs) in partnership with states and local school food authorities (SFAs). Section 28(a) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act authorizes the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary to conduct annual national performance assessments of the school meal programs.
FNS plans to conduct this annual assessment through the School Meals Operations (SMO) Study for school year (SY) 2020-2021. The SMO Study will also collect timely data from state agencies on the use and effectiveness of the CN COVID-19 waivers, as required by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (PL 116-127).
The SMO Study is a revision of the currently approved Child Nutrition Program Operations Study II (CN-OPS II). It will collect timely data on policy, administrative, and operational issues on the school-based CN Programs, including, but not limited to, the preparation of the program budget, development and implementation of program policy and regulations, and identification of areas for technical assistance and training.