Operating Child Nutrition Programs during COVID-19


School Nutrition Programs webpage | CACFP webpage | SFSP webpage

During the current COVID-19 public health emergency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has established nationwide waivers for Child Nutrition Programs (CNPs) to support access to nutritious meals, while enforcing recommendations from public health experts with regard to social distancing measures. In addition, the USDA allows states to request waivers enabling sponsors of CNPs to serve meals in more flexible ways during closures the current COVID-19 public health emergency. CNPs that can apply for these waivers include the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), Seamless Summer Option (SSO) of the NSLP, and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

This webpage provides guidance and resources on the nationwide waivers that Connecticut has opted in to, the state waivers submitted to the USDA by the CSDE, and the USDA's requirements for CNPs operating during the current COVID-19 public health emergency. CNP sponsors and operators must receive approval from the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) to implement these waiver flexibilities. 

Quick Links  |   Implementation Resources  |   USDA Q&As  |   PEBT

Implementation Resources

The resources below provide guidance for CNPs on meal service during the current COVID-19 public health emergency. The CNPs that each resource applies to are indicated in parentheses.


The chart below includes USDA policy memos related to the operation of Child Nutrition Programs during COVID-19. To access additional USDA policy memos, visit the CSDE's webpages for Operational Memoranda for School Nutrition ProgramsOperational Memoranda for the CACFP, and Operational Memoranda for the SFSP.

USDA Policy Guidance for
Operation during COVID-19

 Applies to






USDA Memo SP 10-2021, CACFP 09-2021 and SFSP 05-2021: Questions and Answers Regarding Child Nutrition Program Oversight, Administration and Reporting During COVID-19
USDA Memo CACFP 12-2021: Reimbursement for Meals and Snacks Served to Young Adults in the Child and Adult Care Food Program—Questions and Answers
USDA Memo SP 15-2021, CACFP 13-2021 and SFSP 08-2021: Questions and Answers for Child Nutrition Program Operations in School Year 2021-2022
USDA Memo SP 16-2021 and CACFP 14-2021: Previously Issued Questions and Answers Relating to Operation of the Child Nutrition Programs: Updated for School Year 2021-2022 X X X X
USDA Memo SP 21-2021: Questions and Answers for Child Nutrition Program Reporting in School Year 2021-2022
X X  
USDA Memo SP 22-2021, CACFP 17-2021 and SFSP 10-2021: Questions and Answers for Child Nutrition Program Operations in School Year 2021-2022, Q&A #2
USDA Memo SP 01-2022 and CACFP 01-2022: Questions and Answers for Child Nutrition Programs Emergency Procurement Due to Supply Chain Disruptions
X X   X
USDA Memo CACFP 02-2022: Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Flexibilities During COVID-19 Supply Chain Disruptions

Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Program

The P-EBT program is a partnership of the CSDE and Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS). The P-EBT program provides households with an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card that contains the value of the free school breakfast and lunch reimbursement rates for the days that schools are closed. Eligible households include those with children who are certified to receive free or reduced-price school meals, and children who attend schools offering free school meals to all students (such as community eligibility schools). The P-EBT program will reach approximately 270,000 children in Connecticut, and complements other efforts to provide food to children during this difficult time. Local educational agencies (LEAs) and school food authorities (SFAs) are instrumental in ensuring that P-EBT benefits reach the students in their district.