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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
Frances N. O'Donnell, Coordinator
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Early Dismissal/Bag Lunches

This memo is to clarify the correct way to handle the meal service operation when schools encounter early dismissals.  If the school food authority (SFA) offers a breakfast program, the students would receive breakfast as usual.  If it is possible for the school to move the lunch service times so that all students have the chance to obtain lunch at school, before school is dismissed, this is a viable option.

It is not allowable, however, for a school to claim meals served to students that will not be consumed on the premises.  Therefore, if school dismissal is scheduled before the normal lunch service hours, bag lunches can be prepared and claimed only if the students consume them before they leave the building.  Students should never be sent home with bag lunches that have been claimed for reimbursement.  Bag lunches containing all required food items of the meal pattern (including milk) can be claimed for reimbursement when the student is going to another educational environment such as BOCES.   For field trips, bag lunches meeting meal pattern requirements can be claimed as long as milk is offered with every meal as part of lunch, and a staff member records the meals on a roster so that a categorical count can be obtained.

Questions should be directed to your respective child nutrition representative.

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:, 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:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Click here for Nondiscrimination Statement translations.