On June 6, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the California Department of Education’s (CDE) request for an offer versus serve (OVS) waiver affecting Summer meal service.
The following waiver is effective June 3, 2022, to April 30, 2023, and applies only to the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Waiver information and important details are as follows:
New Summer 2022 Waiver
- OVS (SFSP)
The USDA has allowed for school food authority (SFA) and non-SFA sponsors in good standing to use OVS, which allows children to decline some of the foods offered in a reimbursable breakfast, lunch, or supper.
Previously Issued Summer Waivers
The USDA previously approved five other waivers that affect Summer 2022 meal service. The previously issued waivers are as follows:
- Noncongregate Meal Service During Summer 2022 (SFSP and the Seamless Summer Feeding Option [SSO])
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 (SFSP and SSO)
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.
- First Week Site Visit (SFSP only)
- Closed-Enrolled Site Area Eligibility (SFSP and SSO)
- Meal Service Time Restrictions (SFSP and SSO)
For additional information about the previously approved waivers, please visit the CDE’s Waivers for Summer 2022 Meal Service web page.
COVID-19 Flexibility Guidance For Summer 2022 Operations
The noncongregate meal service and parent/guardian pickup waivers only may be used when a program operator’s meal service is limited by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDE has outlined a comprehensive set of situations that would warrant the use of these waivers which include:
- 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
There should be very few acceptable COVID-19 related situations not included on the list. In those rare instances, you may email COVIDWaivers2022firstname.lastname@example.org if you believe you are experiencing COVID-19-related meal service impacts for an unlisted reason. In your email describe the impact that COVID-19 has had on program operations and specifically how it is restricting congregate meal service.
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: Thursday, June 23, 2022