THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Office of P-20 Education Policy
The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has received State-level waiver authority from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for Summer Food Service Program Sponsors, in good standing, to operate approved outdoor meal sites without alternative indoor sites as non-congregate sites on days when the area is experiencing certain air quality advisories. Under this waiver, the threshold for determining when non- congregate meal service is allowed will be based on metrics developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), which are designed to help determine when to move activities indoors. Using these metrics, which equate to very unhealthy or hazardous air quality, sites may be approved for non-congregate meal service on days when the site’s zip code has an Air Quality Index (AQI) “purple” flag or higher, as indicated at https://www.airnow.gov/. For days when air quality is a concern, but the purple flag threshold is not met, FNS recommends sponsors with outdoor sites consider the outdoor activity guidance developed by the EPA and the CDC.
This targeted waiver is intended to ensure continuity of the meal service at outdoor sites on days when the daily AQI color is purple or higher and makes service of congregate meals impractical or dangerous. Approved outdoor sites must comply with congregate meal service requirements on all other days of operation. Outdoor sites with available alternative indoor sites may not use this waiver and should serve meals at the alternative site if the area is experiencing an AQI color of purple or higher. Other program requirements, including those pertaining to the number and type of meals that may be served each day and meal service times, continue to apply unless the State has obtained a separate waiver for these requirements.
SFSP Sponsors that wish to utilize this waiver must complete this request form and submit it to your NYSED SFSP representative for review and approval.