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Waivers Available for Program Operators

USDA has extended nationwide waivers to support access to nutritious meals while minimizing potential exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID–19). The chart below identifies the available waivers and provides a description of each. Please note, that the waivers are specific to the 3 available Programs.

Program operators should evaluate their meal service operations to determine the applicable waivers necessary based on the Program operated. Program operators will need to notify the Child Nutrition Program Office of the waivers they have elected to use.

Summer Food Service Program & Seamless Summer Option Available Waivers

Available Waivers Applicable Program Waiver Expiration Date Summary of Waiver
SSO/SFSP Operations during 2020-2021 School Year SFSP & SSO June 30, 2021 Permits School Food Authorities (SFAs) to operate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option of the National School Lunch Program (SSO) during the 2020-2021 school year until June 30, 2021.
SFSP/SSO Meal Pattern Waiver SFSP & SSO June 30, 2021

SFSP/SSO Program operators may elect this waiver to waive specific meal pattern requirements required by either the SFSP or SSO. 

Allows targeted, justified flexibilities in order to support access to nutritious meals.

SFSP/SSO Area Eligibility Waiver SFSP & SSO June 30, 2021

With the election of the Area Eligibility Waiver and the Waiver to Allow Area Eligibility for Closed Enrolled Sites, as applicable, SFAs and SFSP sponsors may provide meals at no charge in areas where poor economic conditions have not been established if the SFA/SFSP sponsor can assure and demonstrate a plan to target benefits to children in need.

These flexibilities can be utilized at locations open to all children in the community (open sites) and at locations that limit participation to only enrolled children (closed enrolled sites).

SFSP/SSO Area Eligibility for Closed Enrolled Sites SFSP & SSO June 30, 2021

A closed enrolled site is a site that provides meals to only enrolled children.

To establish eligibility in the SFSP/SSO as a closed enrolled site, operators are required to collect income eligibility applications to determine that 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced price meals. 

By electing this waiver, SFSP/SSO operators that wish to operate a closed enrolled site will not be required to collect free and reduced applications to demonstrate eligibility and instead may use census data to demonstrate eligibility.

Additionally, with the election of the Area Eligibility Waiver and the Waiver to Allow Area Eligibility for Closed Enrolled Sites, as applicable, SFAs and SFSP sponsors may provide meals at no charge in areas where poor economic conditions have not been established if the SFA/SFSP sponsor can assure and demonstrate a plan to target benefits to children in need.

SFSP/SSO Parents and Guardian Meal Pick Up SFSP & SSO June 30, 2021

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.

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

SFSP/SSO Non-congregate Feeding Waiver SFSP & SSO June 30, 2021

Waives the requirement for meals to be served and consumed by participants at congregate meal sites and allows for meals to be consumed off-site.

Allows for grab and go meals and meal delivery.

This waiver must be elected if offering “grab and go" or if serving non-unitized meals and/or food items in bulk quantities.

SFSP/SSO Meal Service Time Restrictions SFSP & SSO June 30, 2021

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

Allows multiple meals to be served at the same time.

Program operators that serve two meals together at the same time for “grab and go” must elect this waiver.

SFSP Only - First Week Site Visits in the Summer Food Service Program SFSP June 30, 2021 Waives the requirement that SFSP sponsors visit each of their sites at least once during the first week of operations for sites that have operated successfully in the previous year and sponsors that successfully participate in CACFP or NSLP.
SFSP Only- Allow Offer Versus Flexibilities SFSP June 30, 2021 Allows all SFSP sponsors to follow the SFSP OVS meal service parameters.
 

National School Lunch Program (NSLP)/School Breakfast Program (SBP) Waivers

Available Waivers Applicable Program Waiver Effective Dates Summary of Waiver
Non-Congregate Feeding Waiver NSLP/SBP This waiver is effective July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.

Waives the requirement for meals to be served and consumed by participants at congregate meal sites and allows for meals to be consumed off-site.

Allows for grab and go meals and meal delivery.

This waiver must be elected if offering “grab and go" or if serving non-unitized meals and/or food items in bulk quantities.

Meal Service Time Waiver NSLP/SBP This waiver is effective July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.  

Waiver to allow meal service time flexibility in Child Nutrition Programs.

Waives the requirement to serve breakfast at the beginning of the school day and lunch between the hours of 10am and 2 pm. 

Program operators that serve two meals together at the same time for “grab and go” must elect this waiver.

Meal Pattern Waiver NSLP/SBP This waiver is effective July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.  

NSLP/SBP Program operators may elect this waiver to waive specific meal pattern requirements required by the NSLP/SBP. 

Allows targeted, justified flexibilities in order to support access to nutritious meals. Program operators are still required to meet nutrition standards to the greatest extent possible. 

Offer versus Serve Flexibility Waiver for Senior High Schools in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) NSLP This waiver is effective July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.

Waives the requirement for senior high schools (as defined by SED) to participate in Offer Versus Serve during the 2020-2021 School Year.

Waiver enables SFAs to offer complete meals for service in the classroom or for delivery or pick up to students doing distance learning.

Parent/Guardian Meal Pick Up Waiver NSLP/SBP This waiver is effective July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.

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 that includes: ensuring that meals are distributed only to parents or guardians of eligible children, and that duplicate meals are not distributed to any child.

 

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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