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Flexibilities Comparison Chart

USDAs Food and Nutrition Services has provided states with a comparison table outlining specific program flexibilities previously offered in school year 2021-22 and options that are available to assist SFAs in preparation for the 2022-23 school year.

 

Certification

Topic Previous Waivers for SY 21-22 Options Available for SY 22-23
Household Income Applications Allowed SFAs to participate in the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) during the regular school year. SSO participation eliminated the need to determine eligibility and enabled schools to provide free meals to all children.  SSO operations will no longer be available except during an unanticipated school closure. Schools must return to standard NSLP and SBP operations. For schools not operating the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) or Provision 2, schools will be required to determine student eligibility through household applications and direct certification, and to return to counting and claiming meals by type (free, reduced price or paid). 
Eligibility Carryover SFAs were able to provide free meals to all students. Carryover of a student’s eligibility status was not needed. 

Allows SFAs that operated the Seamless Summer Option during SY 2021-2022 to carry over the most recent student eligibility information on file, as far back as SY 2019-2020, for up to the first 30 operating days in SY 2022-2023 or until a new eligibility determination is made, whichever comes first. 

*Note: This waiver has been elected in CNMS for all SFAs that operated the Seamless Summer Option during SY 2021-2022. No further action is necessary by the SFA.

Afterschool Snack Program Service  Allowed schools, regardless of their location, to claim all afterschool snacks at the free rate. Area eligible schools may serve and claim all snacks at the free rate. Schools are “area eligible” if at least 50 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Non-area eligible schools participating in NSLP afterschool snacks may serve and claim snacks by type (free, reduced price or paid).

 

Meal Claiming and Reimbursements

Topic Previous Waivers for SY 21-22 Options Available for SY 22-23
Reimbursement Rates Allowed SSO meals and snacks to be reimbursed at the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) reimbursement rates. SFAs will receive standard NSLP/SBP reimbursement rates for school meals. For this school year, the standard rates will include an additional 40 cents per lunch and 15 cents per school breakfast.
Severe Need and Two Cent Differential Not applicable, meals were reimbursed at the SFSP reimbursement rates. 19-20 data will be used for SFAs that participated in SSO or SFSP in the 20-21 school year.

 

Meal Pattern

Topic Previous Waivers for SY 21-22 Options Available for SY 22-23
Meal Pattern Allowed state agencies to approve the use of specific meal pattern flexibilities for program operators to serve school meals that did not meet meal pattern requirements, when needed. Meals must meet meal pattern requirements as specified under program regulations.
Fiscal Action due to Supply Chain Challenges Allowed state agencies with the discretion to not apply fiscal action for missing food components or missing production records and for repeated violations involving milk type and vegetable subgroups when there is a supply chain disruption due to COVID-19. State agencies have the discretion to not apply fiscal action for missing food components or missing production records and for repeated violations involving milk type and vegetable subgroups when there is a supply chain disruption due to COVID-19.

 

Monitoring and Program Administration

Topic Previous Waivers for SY 21-22 Options Available for SY 22-23
Onsite Reviews

Allowed SFAs and state agencies to complete required monitoring offsite until 30 days after the Public Health Emergency ends and provided the flexibility to complete the onsite portion of the administrative review outside of the school year in which the review began.

The Public Health Emergency was recently extended through October 13, 2022 and the nationwide waiver will remain in effect until 30 days after the Public Health Emergency expires.

SFAs with more than one school must conduct one onsite review of a school annually prior to February 1st. This waiver allows monitoring to be conducted remotely.

Review of SSO during the School Year Allowed state agencies to review SSO sites during the school year when the SFA was only operating SSO. This allowed for comprehensive administrative reviews to take place when only SSO was operated. Since SFAs will only be operating SSO during standard SSO time frames, this waiver is no longer needed.
Food Service Management Company Contracts Allowed program operators to extend existing food service management company contracts that would not have otherwise been eligible for an extension. SFAs are permitted to extend existing FSMC contracts that would not otherwise be eligible for extension through SY 2022-2023 or June 30, 2023.
Local School Wellness Policy Triennial Assessments

Allowed a new first triennial assessment deadline of June 30, 2022.

LEAs that were required to complete a triennial assessment of their local school wellness policy by June 30, 2021 were able to accept the new deadline and complete their first assessment by June 30, 2022.

SFAs are allowed to complete their first triennial assessment by June 30, 2023.
Paid Lunch Equity (PLE) SFAs had the option to serve all lunches for free in SY 2020-21 and 2021-22 therefore, a nationwide flexibility for PLE was not needed. SFAs are allowed to decrease or not raise their paid lunch prices by electing the PLE Waiver.

 

Meal Service

The following flexibilities are only to be implemented when congregate meal service is limited by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Topic Previous Waivers for SY 21-22 Options Available for SY 22-23
Non-congregate Allowed non-congregate meal service for NSLP, SBP and SSO, allowing children to eat meals outside of school settings. Allows meals to be consumed off-site.
Meal Times Waived meal time requirements for NSLP, SBP and SSO meals served at schools. 

Allows meals to be served outside of standard mealtimes.

Parent/Guardian Pick-Up Allowed parent/guardians to pick-up school meals on behalf of their children to take home.

Allows parent/guardian to pick up meals for their children without the child being present. 

SFAs must have a plan in place to maintain accountability and program integrity that includes ensuring meals are distributed only to parents or guardians of eligible children, and that duplicate meals are not distributed to any child.

Offer Versus Serve Waived the requirement for senior high schools to use Offer Versus Serve at Lunch. Allows senior high schools to not implement Offer Versus Serve.
Parent/Guardian Pick Up for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) Allowed parent/guardian to pick up FFVP foods to take home to children during school SY 2021-22,  Allows parent/guardian to pick up Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) foods for their children without the child being present. 
FFVP Service at Alternate Sites Allowed FFVP to be served at alternate sites. Permits FFVP program operations at sites that are not elementary schools.
Non-congregate for the Special Milk Program (SMP) Allowed SMP milk to be served in non-congregate settings.  Allows milk to be consumed off-site.
Parent/Guardian Pickup for the SMP Allowed schools to distribute milk to a parent or guardian to take home to their children. Allows parent/guardian to pickup milk for their children without the child being present.

 

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at: https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/USDA-OASCR%20P-Complaint-Form-0508-0002-508-11-28-17Fax2Mail.pdf, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:

  1. mail:
    U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
  2. fax:
    (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
  3. email:
    program.intake@usda.gov

 

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Click here for Nondiscrimination Statement translations.

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