Tuesday Morning - September 8, 2020

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

COVID-19 Policy Updates

USDA Extends SFSP/SSO Waivers
Senators Send Letter to USDA Urging Extension of Waivers through SY 2020-21

Federal Policy

Federal Register: Information Collection on Use of PEBT During COVID-19
USDA Releases Study of Administrative Reviews for the NSLP and SBP
FNS Publishes its Assessment of the AR Process for School Meal Programs
FNS Evaluates the Child Nutrition State Administrative Expense Formula

State Snapshots

Virginia Appropriates Funding to Support After-the-Bell Breakfast Program

Mark Your Calendars

Upcoming SNA Webinar
Upcoming FRAC Webinar

Mystery Chat Corner

COVID-19 Policy Updates

USDA Extends SFSP/SSO Waivers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) extended all Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) waivers through as late as December 31, 2020, dependent on available funding. The move allows schools to offer meals to all children at no charge this fall to minimize the challenges of meal service during a pandemic. The waivers that have been extended include: Offer Versus Serve Flexibilities for SFSP, First Week Site Visits for SFSP, Area Eligibility for Closed Enrolled Sites for SFSP and NSLP, Time Restrictions in the SFSP and NSLP, Parents and Guardians to Pick Up Meals, Non-congregate Feeding in the SFSP and NSLP, Meal Pattern Flexibility in the SFSP, Extend Area Eligibility Waivers, and Allow SFSP and SSO Operations through December 2020. This announcement came less than one week after SNA's Board of Directors hosted a call with USDA officials to share urgent feedback from schools that have seen dramatic declines in student lunch participation in the opening weeks of school, leaving meal programs in dire financial circumstances. Read more in SNA’s press release.

Back-Arrow-Blue Back to the top

Senators Send Letter to USDA Urging Extension of Waivers through SY 2020-21

On September 1, 2020, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), along with 28 additional Senators, sent a letter to the USDA requesting the full extension of school meal waivers through the end of the 2020-21 school year. The letter states that these extensions would allow schools the flexibility to fully serve students whether they are attending school in person or virtually. Read the full letter.

Back-Arrow-Blue Back to the top


In Kansas City, Missouri, nutrition services at Lee's Summit School District has worked tirelessly to serve its students and families and have managed to provide over 400,000 meals in only 20 weeks. Check out this video illustrating all their staff’s hard work.

Federal Policy

Federal Register: Information Collection on Use of PEBT During COVID-19

On August 28, 2020, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published the Federal Register notice “Agency Information Collection Activities: National Study of State Adoption and Use of Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (PEBT) During Covid-19.” This collection seeks to gather information on operational challenges encountered by Child Nutrition (CN) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) State agencies while implementing the PEBT program. The study will collect information on State systems, including student information and direct certification systems and the records contained in those systems, school meal application data, information on the efficacy of the PEBT program, costs of operating the program, and organizational and operational challenges. Comments are due October 27, 2020.

Back-Arrow-Blue Back to the top

USDA Releases Study of Administrative Reviews for the NSLP and SBP

The USDA has released its report “Study of the Administrative Review and Training Grants in the USDA National School Lunch (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP).” This report examines the challenges and lessons learned from 20 states that received and completed Administrative Review and Training (ART) Grants at the end of the 2017 fiscal year. ART Grants provide funding for diverse activities to reduce administrative error, including training for administrative personnel and improving state-level technologies in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program. Read the full report.

Back-Arrow-Blue Back to the top

FNS Publishes its Assessment of the AR Process for School Meal Programs

On August 25, 2020, the USDA FNS released its “Assessment of the Administrative Review (AR) Process in School Meal Programs.” This study assesses the AR process by examining the results from a sample of AR forms selected and submitted by the 52 State agencies utilizing the AR process during school years 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2016-17. The study also describes in-depth how nine selected State agencies conduct their ARs and ways the process could be further improved. Read the full assessment.

Back-Arrow-Blue Back to the top

FNS Evaluates the Child Nutrition State Administrative Expense Formula

The USDA FNS published its assessment of “the Child Nutrition State Administrative Expense (SAE) Formula.” This assessment examines the formula used for allocations of SAE funds, identifies factors that influence State agency spending, and presents a series of options to improve SAE allocations and procedures. It also analyzed administrative data for all 81 child nutrition State agencies and collected qualitative data through in-person interviews with respondents in 22 State agencies during the 2018-19 school year. Read the full summary.

Back-Arrow-Blue Back to the top

State Snapshots

Virginia Appropriates Funding to Support After-the-Bell Breakfast Program

SB 5015 or HB 5005 appropriates $1,074,000 from the general fund to support an After-the-Bell Model breakfast program voluntarily to schools where student eligibility for free or reduced lunch exceeds 45% and provides additional reimbursement for eligible meals served in the current traditional school breakfast program in any participating school.

Back-Arrow-Blue Back to the top

Mark Your Calendars

Upcoming SNA Webinar

Register for next week’s Back to School Webinar and hear practical advice on how to help students cope with the current COVID-19 pandemic. If you missed a particular webinar, catch up with SNA’s on-demand webinars.

Taking Care of Yourself and Your Students: Coping with Pandemic Crisis & Loss
Wednesday, September 16, 2020, 3:00 PM ET
As part of SNA’s “Back to School Webinar Series,” this webinar will provide practical advice on how school nutrition professionals can help students cope with the current COVID-19 pandemic and support grieving students, as well as some guidance related to professional self-care. There will be time available for questions and discussion. This webinar is presented by the Director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement located at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Back-Arrow-Blue Back to the top

Upcoming FRAC Webinar

Last week, the USDA announced the extension of critical waivers, which will allow the continued operation of the Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option through December 31, 2020. Join the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) today, September 8, 2020, 4:00 pm ET, for the webinar, "Serving Meals This Fall: USDA Waiver Update." Hear the latest updates on these flexibilities and different models' schools and communities to serve meals this fall.

Back-Arrow-Blue Back to the top

Mystery Chat Corner

On September 8, 1504, which famous statue by Michelangelo was unveiled in Florence?
A: The Statue of David

Back-Arrow-Blue Back to the top

Contact Us

2900 S. Quincy Street, Suite 700
Arlington, VA 22206
servicecenter@schoolnutrition.org  

Tel (703) 824-3000
Fax (703) 824-3015

> For The Media

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Read the latest news and developments facing the school nutrition industry, as well as stay on top of important trends and resources.

 

> Read the Latest Newsletters

SNA State Associations

The School Nutrition Association has a presence in every state across the country. View links to many of the state associations to find out more about what SNA is doing nationwide. 

> Learn More