Child Nutrition Program Meal Service During Novel
On March 11, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Division of
Food and Nutrition
(DFN) received waiver approval from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that allows schools closed due to the
coronavirus to serve meals to students through the National School Lunch Program's (NSLP) Seamless Summer Option (SSO) or through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) in a noncongregate setting.
USDA released SP 08-2020, SFSP
04-2020, Child Nutrition
Program Meal Service During Novel Coronavirus Outbreaks, which contains an initial question and answer document.
School Nutrition Program Sponsors interested in utilizing non-congregate feeding in the event of a school closure through
SSO or SFSP must obtain approval
from DFN prior to serving any non congregate meals during a school closure. Steps for obtaining
approval can be found on PEARS.
While Local Education Agencies have
the option to choose to operate the waiver through SFSP or SSO, the most expeditious process for
schools is the SSO.
On March 30, 2020, DFN announced it received another waiver
from the USDA that creates flexibility around eligibility requirements for
areas experiencing significant economic changes. Previously, schools qualified
to offer meals to children age 18 and under through the SSO or SFSP based on
the free/reduced percentages of school buildings or census data. This did not
accurately reflect the current economic circumstances that quickly evolved due
to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Questions can be
directed to Vonda Ramp, Pennsylvania’s State Director, Child Nutrition