The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved a nationwide waiver to support access to meals for children while minimizing potential exposure to COVID-19. The original regulations did not contemplate a scenario such as this, and the regulations were written such that meals can only be provided to children. The waiver allows program operators, serving meals in a non-congregate manner, to allow parents and guardians to pick up meals on behalf of their children. This waiver applies to the Seamless Summer Option; School Breakfast Program; Child and Adult Care Food Program; and Summer Food Service Program.
The memo released by the USDA is a waiver for the states. State agencies must inform their Regional Office if they elect to be subject to the waiver, and state agencies should then notify local program operators of the flexibilities included in the waiver. As reported earlier (see “Modifications to Meal Service Post Closure,” in the current issue of the Fiscal Report), the state had been actively pursuing a waiver of this type, so it’s expected that California will exercise the flexibility allowed by the waiver.