NOTICE: Coronavirus Guidance for School Districts: Per Governor’s executive order, in-school class cancellations remain in effect through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

Emergency Meal Programs: The State Department of Education is authorizing two distinct categories of COVID-19 Emergency Meal Programs in accordance with federal requirements: 1) 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; 2) COVID-19 Community-wide Emergency Meal Program for Children. Any child age 18 years or younger can receive meal(s) 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. Check these links often as more locations continue to be added.

Meal Patterns for Grades K-12 in School Nutrition Programs


Meal Patterns for Grades K-12
School Year 2019-20 (Effective July 1, 2019)

Lunch Meal Patterns  |   Breakfast Meal Patterns  |   Dietary Specifications  |   RCCI Exemption

Lunch Meal Patterns for Standard Grade Groups (K-5, 6-8, and 9-12)
Lunch Meal Patterns for Grades K-8

The K-8 meal pattern option is for schools with grade configurations that prevent students from being separated into the required grade groups for K-5 and 6-8. This meal pattern option requires a narrower calorie range and more restrictive sodium limit.

Lunch Menu Planning Checklists

Breakfast Meal Patterns for Standard Grade Groups (K-5, 6-8, and 9-12)
Breakfast Meal Patterns for Multiple Grade Groups

These meal pattern options are for schools with grade configurations that prevent students from being separated into the three required grade groups (K-5, 6-8, and 9-12). These meal pattern options require a narrower calorie range and more restrictive sodium limit.

Dietary Specifications (Nutrition Standards for School Meals)

School meals must meet weekly dietary specifications for calories (minimum and maximum levels), saturated fats, and sodium. In addition, all food products and ingredients used to prepare school meals must contain zero grams of trans fats per serving, as indicated by the Nutrition Facts label or manufacturer’s specifications. The dietary specifications for each meal and grade group are indicated at the bottom of the meal patterns. For detailed guidance on the dietary specifications, see section 6 of the CSDE's Menu Planning Guide for Schools Meals for Grades K-12.

For more resources on the dietary specifications, see "Limiting Added Sugars," "Limiting Fat," and "Limiting Sodium"in the CSDE's Resource List for Menu Planning and Food Production in Child Nutrition Programs.

Meal Pattern Exemption for RCCIs with Multiple Age Groups

The USDA allows RCCIs that meet certain criteria to serve one meal pattern even when the ages/grades being served span more than one age/grade group. This exemption is allowed when the RCCI meets one of the two conditions below:

  1. The RCCI meets the following three criteria:
    • is a juvenile detention or correctional facility;
    • consists of more than one age/grade group; and
    • has legitimate safety concerns or state juvenile justice laws or regulations related to offering meals with varying amounts of food within the same meal period.
  2. The RCCI is NOT a juvenile detention or correctional facility but can demonstrate operational limitations to separating age/grade groups and can show legitimate safety concerns if students are served meals with different portion sizes.

Eligible RCCIs must submit a written waiver request to the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) using the CSDE's Meal Pattern Exception Request Form. For more information, review the CSDE memos below.