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Office of P-20 Education Policy
Child Nutrition Program Administration
89 Washington Avenue, Room 375 EBA, Albany, NY 12234
Phone: (518) 473-8781 Fax: (518) 473-0018

School Food Service Directors/Managers
Child Nutrition Program Administration
Friday, December 31, 2021
Providing School Meals to Students Learning Remotely in SY 2021-2022

With election of applicable waivers, current USDA flexibilities allow school food authorities (SFAs) the option to provide students learning remotely with access to meals on school days during the 2021-2022 School Year.


Non-congregate Meal Service*

Waives the requirement for meals to be served and consumed by students at school and allows meals to be provided outside of school.

Meal Service Times*

Waives meal service time requirements and allows meals to be served outside of standard mealtimes.

Parent/Guardian Pick up

Waives the requirement that meals are served directly to eligible children.

Allows parents/guardians to pick up meals for their children without the child being present.

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

* Required to provide grab and go meals, meal delivery, multiple meals at the same time and to serve food items in bulk quantities.

Serving Bulk Items

In cases where these waivers are needed to provide nutritious meals, up to 5 days of bulk items may be provided as long as individual meals are easily identifiable as a reimbursable meal. When implementing such a distribution mechanism, SFAs:

  • Must include the required food components in the proper minimum amounts for each reimbursable meal being claimed.
  • Must ensure that food items are clearly identifiable as making up reimbursable meals.
  • Are strongly encouraged to provide menus with directions indicating which items are to be used for each meal and the portion sizes.
  • Should consider whether households have access to refrigeration, stoves, microwaves, etc., when providing food that requires refrigeration or further preparation, such as reheating.
  • Should ensure that only minimal preparation is required, and that food is not provided as ingredients for recipes that require chopping, mixing, baking, etc.

How to Elect Waivers

SFAs elect and manage waivers through the Child Nutrition Management System. See instructions provided here.

Other Considerations

  • If an SFA opts to provide access to meals to remote learners, it must provide equal access to all enrolled students learning remotely. For example, an SFA has both in-person and remote learners and opts to not provide access to remote learners. The SFA then transitions to fully remote learning due to COVID-19 numbers. If the SFA provides access to meals, it must provide meal access to all enrolled students, including the students that were learning remotely prior to the school transitioning to full remote.
  • Meals may only be provided for school days and not for days the school is not in session, i.e., weekends, holidays, school breaks
  • Separate flexibilities are available to SFAs during unanticipated school closures under regular program policy.

Please contact your CN representative with any questions regarding this information.

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USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. 

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter 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;

(2)     fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3)     email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.


Click here for Nondiscrimination Statement translations.

Los demás programas de asistencia nutricional del FNS, las agencias estatales y locales, y sus beneficiarios secundarios, deben publicar el siguiente Aviso de No Discriminación:

De conformidad con la Ley Federal de Derechos Civiles y los reglamentos y políticas de derechos civiles del Departamento de Agricultura de los EE. UU. (USDA, por sus siglas en ingles), se prohíbe que el USDA, sus agencias, oficinas, empleados e instituciones que participan o administran programas del USDA discriminen sobre la base de raza, color, nacionalidad, sexo, discapacidad, edad, o en represalia o venganza por actividades previas de derechos civiles en algún programa o actividad realizados o financiados por el USDA.

Las personas con discapacidades que necesiten medios alternativos para la comunicación de la información del programa (por ejemplo, sistema Braille, letras grandes, cintas de audio, lenguaje de seas americano, etc.), deben ponerse en contacto con la agencia (estatal o local) en la que solicitaron los beneficios. Las personas sordas, con dificultades de audición o discapacidades del habla pueden comunicarse con el USDA por medio del Federal Relay Service [Servicio Federal de Retransmisión] al (800) 877-8339. Además, la información del programa se puede proporcionar en otros idiomas.

Para presentar una denuncia de discriminación, complete el Formulario de Denuncia de Discriminación del Programa del USDA, (AD-3027) que está disponible en linea en: y en cualquier oficina del USDA, o bien escriba una carta dirigida al USDA e incluya en la carta toda la información solicitada en el formulario. Para solicitar una copia del formulario de denuncia, llame al (866) 632-9992. Haga llegar su formulario lleno o carta al USDA por:

(1)     correo: U.S. Department of Agriculture
         Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
         1400 Independence Avenue, SW
         Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2)     fax: (202) 690-7442; o

(3)     correo electró

Esta institución es un proveedor que ofrece igualdad de oportunidades.