Friday, October 23, 2020

COVID-19 Guidance in the Child Nutrition Programs - Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)

COVID-19 Guidance in the Child Nutrition Programs - Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)
COVID-19 Guidance in the Child Nutrition Programs


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued nationwide federal waivers and approved state specific requests intended to provide temporary flexibilities to certain regulatory requirements of the Child Nutrition Programs (CNP). The CNPs referenced are the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), Seamless Summer Option (SSO), School Food Service Program (SFSP), and the Child and Adult Food Program (CACFP). The California Department of Education (CDE) is assisting Program Operators of the CNP by posting policy guidance and waivers, providing information on how to operate the programs during the pandemic, directions on how to claim for reimbursement and COVID-19 funding, providing bi-monthly Townhall webinars for questions and answers and best practices, connecting program operators with resources, answering Frequently Answered Questions (FAQ), and providing contact information for additional assistance. The CDE is striving to continue to support and protect access to nutritious meals for children and adults in California.

For the latest announcements and updates, visit the CDE Nutrition What’s New Disaster Tab web page.


Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-26-20 on March 13, 2020, regarding the physical closure of schools by local educational agencies (LEA) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order provides that even if schools close temporarily because of COVID-19, LEAs will continue to receive state funding so that they can:

  • Continue delivering high-quality educational opportunities to students to the extent feasible through, among other options, distance learning or independent study;

  • Provide school meals in noncongregate settings through the SFSP and SSO, consistent with the requirements of the CDE and USDA;

  • Arrange for, to the extent practicable, supervision for students during ordinary school hours; and

  • Continue to pay employees.

This guidance provides a framework for how LEAs can continue to deliver high-quality educational and meal opportunities to students when the school site is physically closed and the LEA has suspended onsite instruction. In providing this instruction, it is critical that LEAs take steps to ensure that these opportunities are available to all students, especially disadvantaged students. On March 16, 2020, the California Legislature on approved an initial $100 million for LEAs and child care centers to cover school cleaning expenses to help ensure the safety of staff and students.

President Trump signed into law H.R. 6201, Title II, on March 18, 2020, the COVID-19 Child Nutrition Response Act. This law modifies USDA food assistance and nutrition programs to allow certain waivers to requirements for all federal CNP, which includes, NSLP, SBP, CACFP, SFSP, and SSO.

As the pandemic continues, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service continues to release waivers and guidance to state agencies and program operators. Please refer to the CNP COVID-19 Policy web page for updated information.

COVID-19 Guidance in the Child Nutrition Programs - Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)