USDA + TDA Updates

Texas Department of Agriculture

LATEST UPDATES: Updated 4/3/2020

USDA has issued guidance that will now allow SFSP and SSO operators to serve meals on Saturday and Sunday, effective immediately. If you have served meals previously or choose to serve them in the future on weekends or Spring Break, you may do so. Please ensure your program application reflects all the days you plan to serve meals. We are grateful to USDA for allowing this additional flexibility. TDA will update its FAQ documents shortly to include any additional information regarding this flexibility. If you are in doubt whether you can utilize an existing flexibility, please contact your regional ESC.

CACFP Non-Congregate Intake Form

In order to implement Nationwide Non-Congregate Feeding Waivers in CACFP, Program operators need to submit their intent to participate, along with additional information, using the following Intake Form.

TDA has developed a Protocol Packet resource for schools wishing to implement SSO or SFSP during the COVID-19 outbreak. This resource includes:

  • Application Navigation

  • Food Safety Best Practices

  • Recommended Materials for Operations

  • Protocols for Grab and Go/Curbside Pickup, Home Delivered Meals, and Bus Delivered Meals

  • Sample Flyers

The Protocol Packet is available here.

SFSP Private Non-Congregate Intake Form: https://form.jotform.com/200764733704151

No child Present Waiver Guidance

USDA has approved for State Agencies to develop a plan to allow parents to pick up meals without their children present. Contracting entities must notify TDA of their intent to utilize this option by completing this intake form. Refer to our quick reference one-pager for more information on this waiver, and contact your Education Service Center for additional guidance.

COVID-19 Meal Pattern Flexibility Intake Form

Please complete the intake form to utilize flexibilities provided by USDA related to meeting the meal pattern during COVID-19. This waiver applies to NSLP, SFSP, SSO, and CACFP. Please click here to access the instructions and the intake form.

Program operators are expected to maintain and meet the nutrition standards for each program to the greatest extent possible but can utilize the request form to request flexibilities related to the meal pattern.

COVID-19 Waiver and Flexibility Requests

The Texas Department of Agriculture is requesting waivers from USDA to support the continued operation of meal service should coronavirus impact operations. Not all waivers are approved; should USDA approve any waivers related to meal service, TDA will update SquareMeals.org/coronavirus with further instructions. CEs should wait until they know the extent of the impact of coronavirus before submitting an application for any released waivers. Click here for all of the waivers submitted and under development, and the status of each.

Important Information for CACFP CEs

Guidance on Non-Congregate Feeding at CACFP Sites

In response to Nationwide Waivers allowing meal service flexibilities at CACFP sites during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Texas Department of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Texas CACFP Sponsor’s Association, provides the following policy and procedures for implementing Non-Congregate Feeding in Texas:

Note: To maintain Program integrity, sites must inform parents/guardians that children may not receive the same meals from another federally supported feeding site. Sites must display the Duplicate Meals Poster that explains the prohibition of receiving duplicate meals.

Visit this website for Nexts Steps related to School Closures and Meal Service:

http://www.squaremeals.org/FandNResources/CoronavirusUpdateforContractingEntities/NSLPResources.aspx

Please complete the intake form below in addition to your TXUNPS application. This information is required before you can file a claim for the meals served. Schools participating in either SFSP or SSO should complete this form.

https://form.jotform.com/200763789175062

If schools wish to continue meal service during a closure, federal reimbursement may be obtained for meals served under the below USDA waiver authorizations:

    • Authority to allow SFSP and SSO operators to provide non-congregate meal service in areas affected by COVID-19-related school closures

    • Authority to allow SFSP and SSO operators to serve meals at school sites during COVID-19-related school closures

These waivers were approved by USDA March 13, 2020.

Schools planning to offer meals to students during a closure must start the 2020 SSO/SFSP application as soon as possible in TXUNPS. TDA highly encourages schools to utilize the SSO application when possible. When completing the site application please ensure all sites serving meals due to coronavirus are listed as new sites in the application with the letters “CV” followed by the site name. TDA recommends child nutrition directors contact NSLP-SBP.BOps@TexasAgriculture.gov for specific guidance on how to complete a summer application most efficiently.

Legislative Updates

Updated 3/19/20

The President signed H.R.6201 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act on March 18, 2020. Details are available at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6201

The bill provides the following:

    • Supplemental appropriations to USDA for TEFAP

    • Allow certain waivers to requirements for the school meal programs

TDA is awaiting USDA guidance to implement the new regulations.

The Texas Governor has issued a state of disaster and the President of the United States has declared state of emergency. It is important to note that these actions do not directly impact or waiver any current USDA nutrition program regulations.

Multiple Meal Options

Updated 3/19/20

Grab & Go and Delivered Meals

Two meals, or one meal and one snack, per child, per day, in any combination except lunch and supper may be provided to students that receive meals at a site or through home meal delivery. Meals delivered can include 7 days of food, if serving on the weekend. Please ensure your TXUNPS application reflects meals served.

Distribution Options

CEs may distribute multiple meals at the same time; however, the maximum number of meals that may be offered remains the same as under SFSP or SSO: up to two meals, or one meal and one snack, per child, per day, in any combination except lunch and supper.

There are several distribution options available to CEs. CEs may distribute:

    • one meal at each meal service to each student,

    • up to two meals at one time each day to each student, or

    • more than one meal to each student for multiple days.

If a CE provides multiple meals at one time, the CE must adjust the number of days the site is open. For example, if the CE is open Monday and Thursday, the CE must distribute meals as follows:

    • on Monday, the CE would distribute meals for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday

    • on Thursday, the CE would distribute meals for Thursday and Friday (Saturday and Sunday, if approved).

If meals for multiple days are served, the meal must be claimed on the day of intended service.

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated 3/18/20

  • Click here for additional FAQs from TDA

  • Where can I find more information about waivers requested by TDA to USDA?

    • Please click here for more information.

  • Is the TDA MegaCon Conference still happening?

    • MegaCon has been cancelled until 2021

  • Who can I contact if I have an idea to ensure meal service can continue during the coronavirus outbreak that requires a federal waiver of CN regulations?

    • Please email your suggestion to SquareMeals@TexasAgriculture.gov

  • Are administrative reviews still occuring this year?

    • Reviews are being suspended or postpone. TDA will be notifying impacted schools. Check back for updates.

RESOURCES:

Coronavirus Updates for F&N: http://squaremeals.org/FandNResources/CoronavirusUpdateforContractingEntities.aspx

Proposed Waivers: (As of March 12, 2020)

http://squaremeals.org/News/tabid/945/Article/2941/Public-Notice-Proposed-Waiver-Request-Administrative-Review-Cycle.aspx

Updated NSLP Resources during COVID-19: http://www.squaremeals.org/FandNResources/CoronavirusUpdateforContractingEntities/NSLPResources.aspx

USDA COVID Updates