OPI Secures 11 School Nutrition Waivers from USDA; Provides New Guidance on Safely Delivering and Preparing School Meals and Educational Materials
April 7, 2020
HELENA— The Montana Office of Public Instruction has secured eleven waivers for Montana's local school nutrition programs from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The most recent waiver enables Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors to operate open sites in areas approved by the OPI based on economic hardship, but that are not located in areas in which poor economic conditions exist.
“The OPI is rapidly processing school nutrition applications to ensure that local school nutrition programs have flexibility in delivering school meals,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen said Tuesday. “As schools engage in providing alternative education and nutrition services to students during the COVID-19 outbreak, I am ensuring that they have the full support of state and federal leaders."
Below is a full list of school nutrition waivers that the OPI has secured to date. Information on school responses to the COVID-19 outbreak is posted on the OPI’s website and the state of Montana news site. Additionally, the OPI has prepared new guidance for schools as they prepare and deliver school meals and educational materials.
Montana Area Eligibility Waiver
FNS approved Montana’s waiver enabling Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors to operate open sites in areas approved by MT OPI based on economic hardship, but that are not located in areas in which poor economic conditions exist as defined at section 13(a)(1)(A) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (NSLA).
Nationwide School Meals Programs Onsite Monitoring Waiver
FNS is waiving school meals onsite monitoring requirements for all State agencies and SFAs. In instances where a State agency is not able to conduct any monitoring of school meals this year due to school closures, the State agency may postpone the administrative review until school year 2020-2021.
Nationwide Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Onsite Monitoring for State Agencies
FNS is waiving that monitoring must be completed onsite for all State agencies. Additionally, State agencies may postpone required site visits until summer 2020 for SFSP sponsors who operate the Program during normal summer operations (May through August).
Nationwide Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Onsite Monitoring for Sponsoring Organizations
FNS is waiving that monitoring must be completed onsite for all SFSP sponsoring organizations. Additionally, SFSP sponsoring organizations may postpone required site visits until summer 2020 for SFSP sponsors who operate the Program during normal summer operations (May through August).
Nationwide Parent/Guardian Meal Pickup Waiver FNS is allowing States approved for non-congregate feeding to waive the rule preventing parents and guardians from picking up meals for their children, as long as they protect accountability and integrity.
Nationwide Meal Pattern Waiver FNS has provided nationwide approval for States to locally waive specific meal pattern requirements as needed to support access to nutritious meals when certain foods are not available due to the novel coronavirus.
Nationwide Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) Data Waiver FNS is extending the deadlines for reporting SY 2019-20 student counts to establish SY 2020-21’s identified student percentage for CEP, as well as for the required LEA and State notifications and CEP election.
CN COVID-19 Afterschool Activity Waiver This waiver allows afterschool meals and snacks to be served without the required educational or enrichment program.
CN COVID-19 Non-congregate Feeding Nationwide Waiver This waiver allows schools to serve meals through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program in a non-congregate setting. The Montana OPI previously requested and received a waiver to allow for Summer Food Service Program meals to be served in a congregate setting.
CN COVID-19 Meal Times Nationwide Waiver This waiver of meal service time requirements supports streamlined access to nutritious meals in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and Summer Food Service Program.
Montana Congregate Meal Waiver FNS approved Montana’s waiver enabling Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors to serve meals in a non-congregate setting and at school sites during school closures related to the coronavirus.
CONTACT: Dylan Klapmeier
Director of Communications, Montana Office of Public Instruction