On May 18, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the California Department of Education’s (CDE) request for two new waivers affecting Summer meal service.
The two following waivers are effective May 18, 2022 to September 30, 2022, and apply to both the Seamless Summer Feeding Option (SSO) and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Waiver information and important details are as follows:
New Summer 2022 Waivers
- Noncongregate Meal Service During Summer 2022
The USDA waived the requirement for program operators to serve meals in a congregate setting and for meals to be consumed on-site. This allows program operators to serve meals to eligible children and for the meals to be consumed off-site.
Note: The flexibility provided in this waiver may be implemented by program operators only when congregate meal service is limited by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Parent/Guardian Meal Pickup During Summer 2022
The USDA waived the requirement that meals may only be served directly to children. This waiver allows for parent or guardian to pick-up of meals for eligible children.
Note: The flexibility provided in this waiver may be implemented by program operators only when congregate meal service is limited by the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, program operators utilizing this waiver must have a written program integrity plan in place to ensure that meals are distributed only to parents or guardians of eligible children and that duplicate meals are not distributed.
COVID-19 Flexibility Guidance For Summer 2022 Operations
The two new waivers above, may be used when a program operator’s meal service is limited by the COVID-19 pandemic. Limitations can include, but are not limited to the following:
- Site closure or quarantine due to COVID-19
- Staff shortages due to COVID-19 illness or quarantine
- Mandate or recommendations from national, state, or local governing body not to congregate due to COVID-19
- Service to groups where the majority are unvaccinated
- For example, children under 5, while COVID-19 vaccinations for this age group are unavailable, or immune compromised groups
- Note: the waiver flexibilities can be used for these groups only and may not apply to entire site that serve a broader population
- Documented delays in obtaining supplies and equipment due to COVID-19, that prevents the ability to provide congregate meal service
Previously Issued Summer Waivers
The USDA previously approved three other waivers that affect Summer 2022 meal service. The previously issued waivers are as follows:
- First Week Site Visit (SFSP only)
The USDA waived the requirement for SFSP operators to visit each of their sites at least once during the first week of operation. Program operators must be in good standing and are still required to conduct a full review of food service operations at each site within the first four weeks of operations, as well as maintain a reasonable level of site monitoring.
- Closed-Enrolled Site Area Eligibility (SFSP and SSO)
The USDA waived the requirement that program operators use meal applications to determine area eligibility for closed-enrolled. Program operators are allowed to establish area eligibility for closed-enrolled sites using school or census data as defined in USDA policy memo SFSP 03-2017, Area Eligibility in Child Nutrition Programs
- Meal Service Time Restrictions (SFSP and SSO)
The USDA waived the meal service time restrictions. Specifically, regulatory limits on the amount of time that must elapse between meal service, and the duration of meal service are waived.
For additional information about the previously approved waivers, please visit the California Department of Education’s (CDE) Waivers for Summer 2022 Meal Service web page at Waivers for Summer 2022 Meal Service – Nutrition (CA Dept of Education).
The CDE is required to collect information about the use of COVID-19 related waivers, and will issue a mandatory survey to SFSP and SSO program operators to gather this information. Reporting will include but is not limited to; how the waivers impacted meals service, improved services to children, and reduced program paperwork.
For additional information and announcements about Summer Meals, please visit the Summer Food Service Program Information web page.
For additional information about COVID-19 waivers, please visit the COVID-19 Policy and Waivers in CNPs web page.
For any questions regarding these waivers, please contact your respective program’s County Specialist. The County Specialist for each program can be found in the Download Forms section of each respective program’s module in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System
, Download Forms section:
- School Nutrition Programs (including SSO): Form ID Caseload
- SFSP: Form ID SFSP 01
Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, May 31, 2022