School Nutrition Weekly Newsletter

March 12, 2020

Coronavirus Congregate Meals Waiver

  • USDA does allow meal service to children during school closures through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) or the National School Lunch Seamless Summer Option (SSO).
  • Under normal circumstances, these meals are offered in a congregate setting and at non-school sites.
  • However, during a public health emergency due to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), social distancing may be necessary to avoid the spread of the virus.
  • USDA is allowing States to request a waiver of the congregate meal requirement during school closures related to COVID-19. IDOE is applying for this waiver and as soon as we have news of approval, we will let schools know.
  • This waiver would allow for a Grab and Go meal service, in areas that meet the eligibility requirements of SFSP or SSO.
  • Grab and Go would limit participants’ interaction and proximity to other participants and therefore decrease the risk of COVID-19 exposure.
  • If you have not been on SFSP or SSO and are interested in applying, please contact us at summermeals@doe.in.gov.
  • If you have additional questions regarding meal service during a school closure, please contact Julie Sutton at jsutton@doe.in.gov or (317) 232-0845.

Reminders - Coronavirus and The National School Lunch Program

  • Schools are not required to provide meal service in the event of a school closure.
  • Schools are also not required to provide meal service on eLearning days.
  • Schools should check with their local health department, as well, before proceeding with providing meal service to students during a school closure.
  • If the school will not be claiming reimbursement under any program and non-Federal funds are used to pay for the meals then following a healthy meal pattern is recommended but not required.

Reminder - Information Related to the Coronavirus and Schools

  • COVID-19 Resources for Indiana Schools can be found here.
  • Additionally, IDOE has released this document for school nurses and administrators.
  • Please see this memo regarding general precautions to avoid the spread of viruses.
  • Questions of a medical nature should be directed to Jolene Bracale at jbracale@doe.in.gov.
  • Questions regarding pandemic plans should be directed to Steve Balko at sbalko@doe.in.gov.

Direct Certification (DC) Data Updated


  • The newest DC data is available to download in the STN Application Center.
  • For those without the Effective Date Waiver, any new eligibility matches identified in the DC system can be applied beginning March 1.
  • For those with the Effective Date Waiver, you will begin applying benefits beginning the date the DC download or DC Lookup says the student was first eligible.
  • For more information about the Effective Date Waiver, click here.
  • Questions? Contact DC specialists using the new DC Help Form.

Nominate a K-12 #Trayblazer to Be Highlighted by General Mills Today!

  • A school meal is more than just a serving of food—it’s the fuel students need to learn and grow!
  • Day after day, schools rise to the occasion to make breakfast and lunch a tasty, nutritious and special part of each student’s day.
  • General Mills wants to know all about school food all-stars going above and beyond for students!
  • What’s a special meal your school is proud to serve?
  • Who’s a school employee that makes your lunchroom a welcoming place?
  • Who’s always bringing that special idea to take meals to the next level?
  • General Mills wants to hear all about your #Trayblazer so they can share their story!
  • Click here for more information and to nominate someone as a #trayblazer.

New Courses from The Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN)

  • ICN now has two new courses available online for schools to take in order to earn professional standards hours.
  • Basic Culinary Math: Measurement reviews the standard units of measurement and the culinary tools used for measuring and weighing in the preparation of standardized recipes.
  • Basic Culinary Math: Scaling Recipes reviews how to determine and use a conversion factor to change the yield of a recipe.
  • Click here to review ICN’s online course database.

Food Distribution Program (FDP) Updates

Brown Box to Bulk Newsletter


  • FDP's most recent edition of their newsletter is now available.
  • Learn more about recent updates, new recipes using commodities, the DoD Fresh Program, and reminders for the program.
  • Click here to view the latest edition of IDOE's Brown Box to Bulk Newsletter.

Procuring USDA Foods Training

  • IDOE is hosting an in-person training for USDA Foods recipient agencies on Procuring USDA Foods.
  • The training will be held twice:


  • Wednesday, June 17 at MSD of Lawrence Township
  • Wednesday, September 30 at MSD of Warren Township


  • This training will highlight eight key areas, including: pre-ordering, entitlement value, vendor selection and ordering of USDA Foods.
  • In addition, inventory management, DoD Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program and navigating the CNPweb will be covered.
  • Attendees will take away a better understanding of how procurement and USDA Foods relate.
  • Click here for more information and to register.
  • Questions? Contact Cheryl Moore at cmoore@doe.in.gov.

Warehouse Selection Finalized

  • The warehouses that will be used for the Food Distribution Program next year have been selected.
  • Dilgard will have regions 3 and 5.
  • Stanz will have regions 1, 2, and 4.
  • Wabash will have region 6.
  • If your warehouse is changing, there will be more information to come from the Food Distribution staff on any impact these changes may have on your school(s).
  • This reduction back to three warehouses will continue to help us with distribution and inventory issues.
  • Questions? Contact Cheryl Moore at cmoore@doe.in.gov.

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If you have any questions or concerns regarding this newsletter, please contact Allie Caito-Sipe at acaito@doe.in.gov, call (317) 232-0849, or toll-free at 1-800-537-1142 ext. 20849, or contact Ashley Heller at aheller@doe.in.gov, call (317) 232-0544, or toll-free at 1-800-537-1142 ext. 20544.


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