THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Office of P-20 Education Policy
The purpose of this memorandum is to revise guidance on rural designations in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the National School Lunch Program’s Seamless Summer Option (SSO). The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (the Act) (P.L. 117-328) authorized a permanent non-congregate meal service option through the SFSP and SSO for children who live in rural communities with no congregate meal service. This memorandum is updated to include revisions to the definition of rural as provided in the interim final rule, Establishing the Summer EBT Program and Rural Non-Congregate Option in the Summer Meal Programs, published in the Federal Register on December 29, 2023. The revised definition allows the use of multiple recognized Federal definitions and classifications to designate areas as rural without further USDA approval, as well as the option for State agencies, with Food and Nutrition Service Regional Office (FNSRO) approval, to identify additional pockets that are rural in character based on other data sources. The revised definition will ease administrative burden and streamline the site identification and approval process for State agencies and Program sponsors. In addition, this memorandum highlights the updates made to the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Rural Designation Map, a tool available to assist State agencies and sponsors in designating sites as rural. This memorandum supersedes SFSP policy memorandum SFSP 17-2015, Rural Designations in the Summer Food Service Program – Revised, April 21, 2017.