The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) supports nutrition programs in a wide variety of settings through the administration of federal grants provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA Child Nutrition Programs include the:
- Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) for child care centers, family day care homes, emergency shelters, at-risk afterschool care programs, and adult day care centers;
- Summer Food Service Program (SFSP); and
- school nutrition programs, which include the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), Afterschool Snack Program (ASP), Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP), Special Milk Program (SMP), and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) of the NSLP.
Funds and regulations related to these programs are administered in collaboration with the USDA Northeast Regional Office (NERO) in Boston. Eligible institutions enter into written agreements with the CSDE to operate local programs that provide for the nutritional needs of those in their care.
- Child Nutrition Staff and Responsibilities
- Food Distribution Program (USDA Foods)
- School Nutrition Programs
Operation of Child Nutrition Programs during Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreaks
The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act authorizes the provision of meals to children who are not in school during unanticipated school closures through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), the National School Lunch Program’s Seamless Summer Option (SSO), and the At-Risk Afterschool component of Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). Under normal circumstances, SFSP and SSO meals must be offered in a congregate setting (7 CFR 225.6(e)(15) and at non-school sites (7 CFR 225.6(d)(1)(iv). However, during a public health emergency due to the novel coronavirus, social distancing may be necessary to avoid spread of the virus. To address this important issue, states may request waivers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) enabling sponsors to serve meals in more flexible ways during closures related to the coronavirus. To this end, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) has submitted the following waivers to enable sponsors to provide nutritious meals during this time.
If your eligible sponsoring school or organization is considering providing meal service during extended closures due to COVID-19, please contact your school nutrition county consultant for more information.
CSDE COVID-19 Waivers to the USDA
- SFSP and SSO Congregate and Non-school Sites Requirements: Waive the SFSP and SSO requirements for congregate sites and serving meals at non-school sites.
- SFSP and SSO Time Restrictions: Waive the time restrictions on SFSP and SSO meal services, including how much time must elapse between meal services and the times when certain meals must be served and completed.
- CACFP Congregate and Attendance Requirements: Waive the congregate requirement for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and waive the requirement to maintain daily attendance records.
- CACFP At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program: Waive the requirements for the CACFP At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program (suppers) to maintain attendance and offer the structured afterschool education and/or enrichment activity concurrent to supper meals service.
- SFSP and SSO Area Eligibility: Waive the definition of area eligibility in the SFSP, and allow SFSP and SSO sponsors to serve meals to any child ages 18 and younger at any authorized SFSP or SSO meals distribution location.
- SFSP, SSO, and CACFP Meal Patterns: Waive the meal pattern requirements for the SFSP, SSO, and CACFP to allow authorized SFSP, SSO, and CACFP sponsors to provide nutritious meals and snacks, pending the availability of meal pattern components during closures related to COVID-19.
- Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) Deadlines: Waive the deadline for: 1) local educational agencies (LEAs) to establish the number of students who are directly certified as of April 1; 2) LEAs to select to participate or renew participation in CEP by June 30; and 3) the state agency to notify the LEA of their eligibility, and conduct public notification, using data as of April 1.
- SFSP and SSO Physical Presence of Child: Waive the requirement for a child to be physically present to receive a meal, and allow for heads of households to receive meals on their children’s behalf in order to provide those meals to their children for consumption.
- SFSP, SSO, and CACFP At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program Scheduled Breaks and Holidays: Waive the definition of unanticipated school closures and waive the requirement that schools must affirmatively postpone or cancel spring breaks to serve meals through the SFSP, SSO, or CACFP At-Risk Afterschool Meals Programs.
USDA Nationwide COVID-19 Waivers
Pursuant to the COVID–19 Child Nutrition Response Act (H.R. 6201, Title II), and the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has established nationwide waivers to support access to nutritious meals, while enforcing recommendations from public health experts with regard to social distancing measures. The waivers below apply to all states that elect to use them. The CSDE is opting to use these waivers. Note: To implement these waivers, sponsors must follow specific CSDE guidance and submit an application to the CSDE. For additional guidance and the required application forms, contact your school nutrition county consultant.
- Nationwide Waiver to Allow Meal Service Time Flexibility in the Child Nutrition Programs
- Nationwide Waiver to Allow Non-congregate Feeding in the Child Nutrition Programs
- Nationwide Waiver of the Activity Requirement in Afterschool Care Child Nutrition Programs
- Nationwide Waiver to Allow Meal Pattern Flexibility in the Child Nutrition Programs
- Nationwide Waiver to Allow Parents and Guardians to Pick Up Meals for Children
- Nationwide Waiver of Community Eligibility Provision Deadlines in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs
- Nationwide Waivers of Child Nutrition Monitoring
- Nationwide Waiver of Monitoring Requirements for Sponsors in the Child and Adult Care Food Program
- Nationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements for State Agencies in the Child and Adult Care Food Program
- Nationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements in the School Meals Programs
- Nationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements for Sponsoring Organizations in the Summer Food Service Program
- Nationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements for State Agencies in the Summer Food Service Program
Meal Service and Distribution Sites
The lists below provide information on the SFSP and SSO meal service and distribution sites in Connecticut. Check these links often as more locations continue to be added.
- COVID-19 Emergency Meal Program Limited to Students Attending School in Specific Districts: School districts on this list are only authorized to serve meals to students attending their schools, and any other child age 18 years or younger residing in the same household.
- COVID-19 Community-wide Emergency Meal Program for Children: Any child age 18 years or younger can receive meals at any meal service and distribution sites in these towns/cities. They do not have to be a resident or attend school in these towns/cities.
- Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) COVID-19 Situation Update
- Considerations for Preparing to Provide Non-Congregate Meals and Snacks during Adult Day Care Center Closures due to COVID-19 (CSDE)
- Considerations for Preparing to Provide Non-Congregate Meals and Snacks during Child Care Center Closures due to COVID-19 (CSDE)
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (Connecticut's ct.gov website)
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website)
- Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) (USDA website)
- Coronavirus Disease Resources (School Nutrition Association)
- COVID-19 Considerations for Distribution of Emergency Meals and Educational Materials/Supplies (CSDE)
- COVID-19 Emergency Meal Service, Social Distancing and Food Safety Guidance for Schools (CSDE)
- COVID-19 webinar series (School Nutrition Association)
- CSDE Operational Memorandum No. 14-2012: Guidance on the Food Donation Program in Child Nutrition Programs
- Questions and Answers for Home Delivery of SFSP and SSO Meals during School Closures due to COVID-19 (CSDE)
- USDA FNS Response to COVID-19
- USDA Memo SP 04-2020, CACFP 03-2020 and SFSP 03-2020: Meal Service During Unanticipated School Closures
- USDA Memo SP 08-2020 and SFSP 04-2020: Child Nutrition Program Meal Service During Novel Coronavirus Outbreaks
- USDA Q&A (March 17, 2020): COVID-19 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) Meal Delivery Using Existing Authority
- Using USDA Food During a Human Pandemic Outbreak: Options for Schools and Communities
Nondiscrimination Statements (USDA and CSDE)