School Nutrition Program Updates
SY 20-21 Pre-Kindergarten Eligibility Guidance
Pre-K students are not directly certified solely by program participation this school year!
Contracting Entity Applications Submission
- SY 20-21 NSLP/SBP application submission is due by August 31, 2020. Applications should be submitted as soon as possible. Applications must be approved in order to serve and claim meals.
- Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) - If you choose to participate, submit the application as soon as possible. The Identified Student Percentage (ISP) must be validated by an ESC Specialist prior to application approval.
- SFSP - If you fed summer meals under SFSP, review the SY 19-20 application to be sure it's updated according to when and how you served meals.
- SSO Site App - If you served meals under SSO, review the SY 19-20 site application to be sure it's updated according to when and how you served meals.
Update Attachment B: Upload Attachments in SNP Application
Attachment B: Upload Attachments Uploading Certification and Benefit Issuance and Documentation in TX-UNPS Starting School Year (SY) 2020-2021 and each SY forward, each CE must provide its certification and benefit issuance templates to TDA. To streamline the submission, TDA has developed a tool for collecting these documents that is located in TX-UNPS | Application Screen | Attachment B: Upload Attachments. CEs that operate CE-wide Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) or Provision 2 (P2) in a Non-Base Year are not required to upload household applications, directions, and notification letters. Directions for document submission are located in TX-UNPS | Application Screen | Download Forms | SNP Form 134, Directions for Uploading Certification and Benefit Issuance Documentation in TX-UNPS.
Uploading Certification and Benefit Issuance and Documentation in TX-UNPS
Starting School Year (SY) 2020-2021 and each SY forward, each CE must provide its certification and benefit issuance templates to TDA. To streamline the submission, TDA has developed a tool for collecting these documents that is located in TX-UNPS | Application Screen | Attachment B: Upload Attachments.
CEs that operate CE-wide Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) or Provision 2 (P2) in a Non-Base Year are not required to upload household applications, directions, and notification letters.
Directions for document submission are located in TX-UNPS | Application Screen | Download Forms | SNP Form 134, Directions for Uploading Certification and Benefit Issuance Documentation in TX-UNPS.
This tool opened on August 1, 2020, and will close on October 31, 2020.
*Be sure to check the Attachment B Submitted in the Checklist of the Application Packet Dashboard.
Attachment B for SY 20-21 Meal Service
Contracting entities (CEs) must update their Attachment B, Policy Statement for Free and Reduced-Price Meals to reflect the CE’s COVID-19 operational practices for School Year (SY) 2020-2021 if the CE will change practices from what is indicated in the CE’s current Attachment B. Information on grab and go, home delivery, meals in the classroom, multiple meals served to students, and non-traditional meal service methods must be reported in Question 10.
Monthly Congregate/Non-Congregate Meal Count
- TDA is sending a notification to all CEs concerning a monthly congregate and non-congregate meal count submission via intake form. FORM NOT YET RELEASED
- TDA spoke to all Texas Point of Sale vendors to express the need for a button to represent non-congregate meals. NC = Non-Congregate meal
- Additional support for the setup of the NC button will be provided by the POS system vendor.
- The monthly submission for the congregate and non-congregate meal count is due within 60 days. The same as a claim. The idea is to submit the meal count at the same time as your claim.
- This submission is necessary for TDA to report data to USDA.
SY 20-21 Fall Planning Resources
- TDA's Website -https://squaremeals.org/FandNResources/CoronavirusUpdateforContractingEntities/FallPlanningResources.aspx
- ESC6 Directors Day LiveBinder Resources - https://www.livebinders.com/b/2677663
- SY 20-21 SBP/NSLP Meal Service FQAs -https://squaremeals.org/Portals/8/files/H1N1/Coronavirus/COVID-19%20-%20FAQs_NSLP_FallOperations_200703_REV%201.pdf
Grab and Go Product List -
- USDA Offered Foods -
- Vendor Support -
SY 20-21 Information
- SBP/NSLP Guidelines/Compliance - When the SY begins whether the curriculum is in the school building or online you will follow SBP/NSLP guidelines.
- SY 20-21 Site Applications - The application is submitted under the SBP/NSLP site applications as always regardless of congregate or non-congregate feeding.
- Home Delivery (HD) - CE must have household consent documentation prior to HD meal service.
- Meals Accessible - During non-congregate meal service CEs are charged to make meals accessible to students. However, it is a local decision on the method to provide meals. You do not have to implement HD. CEs advertise the time and place of meal service implemented and it is up to the households whether they participate or not.
- Choice of Milk - Regardless of implementing "straight serve" to all students you must still offer a choice of milk as of 8/5/2020. Update site applications to reflect implementing OVS or not when/if implementation changes.
- Local Decisions - Each CE must make a local decision on the type of meal service implemented. Procedures need to be created for safety, sanitation, and staff training.
- Approval of Procedures - The ESC Specialists do not approve CE procedures. TDA approves procedures by acceptance of Intake Forms and during an Administrative Review.
- Food Safety and Sanitation - For food safety and sanitation questions contact your local health department. Food safety and sanitation guidance are located on squaremeals.org too.
- Cashless Payments - If a CE implements only online payments for meals, the household cannot be charged a fee for the transaction. MEMO CODE: SP 02-2015 explains if you implement ONLY a cashless payment system with no other option to pay for meals then you cannot charge a fee for the online payment.
Non-Congregate Counting & Claiming
- Non-congregate Meal Service - As always, the following must be tied to a student's reimbursable meal:
- Type of meal (Breakfast/Lunch)
- School site the student attends
SY 20-21 SBP/NSLP Waivers
- Waivers and Intake Forms are located on squaremeals.org
- Some SY 20-21 Intake Forms have not been released as of 8/5/2020.
- Intake forms must be submitted to TDA when implementing flexibilities.
- TDA provides Intake forms on squaremeals.org as USDA releases waivers.
- Be prepared to provide supporting documentation for any waivers you submit. Documentation is reviewed during administrative reviews.
- Meal service type is considered locally. Once you consider the meal service type for your CE then determine which waivers you need to submit according to the flexibilities implemented.
- Only CEs in good standing with TDA may submit waivers for meal service flexibilities. CEs considered NOT in good standing with TDA are CEs who are not able to resolve compliance findings. TDA will send a notification to CEs who are not in good standing.
SY 20-21 Meal Pattern Waiver
Only submit after the lack of meal pattern compliance.
- The waiver is meant for a start and end date of your ordering schedule.
- The intention is to provide the component at the next grocery delivery.
- Contact Name: Must be an authorized representative. This contact representative should match the contact in the TX-UNPS application.
- See the Meal Pattern reference guide for guidance.
Non-Approval of the waiver:
- Lack of packaging
- Lack of storage
- Lack of Staffing
- As of 8/5/2020, an age/grade meal pattern flexibility has not been approved.
- Plan to feed all age/grade groups according to the meal pattern.
- Per the meal pattern the following grades can be combined for one menu:
- Breakfast ~ K-12
- Lunch ~ K-8 & 9-12
SY 20-21 Offer Versus Serve (OVS) Waiver
- USDA released a nationwide waiver for CEs to have the option of not implementing OVS for HS (9-12) at lunch. Expires June 30, 2021 (as of 8/5/2020)
- Keep in mind, OVS is a choice of each component, not several choices within a component. Two entrees to choose from is simply a choice within a component, not considered OVS.
- Some CEs want to implement OVS but are concerned about the challenge during alternative meal service for social distancing.
- If you menu several components together then OVS could be easier. A Burger Basket could include 3 components. i.e. Burger Basket ~ Burger, Lettuce/Tomato Stack, Fries
- The fruit and milk are the only two remaining options.
- If you choose "all-serve" where students receive all components, you must give students a choice of milk regardless.
- All-serve meal service means you must provide all required components. If a student does not want a condiment that's considered an "extra" then they do not have to take it.
Waivers Submitted USDA by TDA
The following waivers have been submitted to USDA by TDA but have not been approved as of 8/5/2020:
- CACFP At-Risk Assessment
- Potable Water
- Monitoring for NSLP
CACFP At-Risk Updates
- SY 20-21 waivers are approved for CACFP but NOT At-Risk at this time (8/5/2020). TDA submitted a waiver to USDA for approval on virtual enrichment.
- No home delivery (HD) waiver for At-Risk as of 8/5/2020.
- See the link below for CACFP flexibility information.
SY 20-21 Administrative Review and Procurement Review
- CEs receiving an Administrative Review (AR) and/or a Procurement Review (PR) are being contacted with a notification initial letter.
- The AR process involves a desk review (online) and on-site formats. TDA understands the concern of CEs having an on-site review during the COVD-19 pandemic. The AR Specialist will contact the CE via email 12 weeks from the on-site review. The email will include a checklist, an outline of the AR, and a scheduled conference call to discuss the process with the AR Specialist. If you have concerns about the on-site review this is the time to discuss it with the AR Specialist.
- The PR process is strictly a desk review (online format). It is important to be prepared for the PR. Be familiar with the requested information.
- PR Documents -
- Procurement Policy - CN should have a separate policy from the ISD. CN regulations are slightly different from EDGAR regulations.
See the link provided for guidance to prepare for the reviews.
- P-EBT is a one-time food benefit for families that have lost access to free or reduced-price meals because of school closures related to COVID-19.
- P-EBT application deadline has been extended until August 21, 2020.
- Please refer families to the P-EBT Call Center if they need help activating their card at 833-613-6220 Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 6:00 pm.
- Families should also refer to Texas Health and Human Service's P-EBT FAQs for more information, https://hhs.texas.gov/pebt.
Direct Certification Report
- Beginning in July each CE who provides benefit status' for students must collect the DC report from TXELMS after the 5th of every month and update the point of sale (POS) system.
- See the direct link for information on retrieving the DC report.
- All CEs must be able to provide a list of students' eligibility status at any time requested.
- All CEs must be able to provide a list of DC students with the type of program benefit at any time requested.
CACFP Pre-K Meal Pattern
- The Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP) meal pattern is for ages up to 5 years old. Therefore districts feed Pre-K 3-5 yr olds the CACFP meal pattern.
- USDA does allow CEs to feed Pre-k students the K-5 meal pattern when students are co-mingled. See MEMO 37-2017 for guidance.
- In order to accept the flexibility of co-mingling students, CEs should consider the following questions.
- Can the pre-K class or group of pre-kindergarten students be reasonably distinguished in the service line?
Is there reasonably sufficient time to serve the pre-kindergarten students the pre-k meal pattern before older students are served?
- Many CEs who accepted the co-mingling flexibility in the past will not be able to this SY if Pre-K is fed in the classroom due to social distancing.
- See the CACFP meal pattern for Pre-K, 3-5 yr olds here.
- CACFP meal pattern only requires the minimum daily amounts to be met. Therefore most of the menu items from K-5 lunch menu may be served to Pre-K.
- Notice CACFP does not allow grain-based desserts to be served. This means you cannot serve a grain-based dessert as the grain contribution. Most of the K-5 breakfast items are grain-based desserts.
- See Exhibit A Grain Chart to understand what grains are not allowed for Pre-K.
Contracting Entity Spotlight
- Magnolia ISD spotlights the Child Nutrition department during the COVID-19 pandemic meal service.
- Brenham ISD Child Nutrition Director gives a visual of SY 20-21 precautions during meal service.
- Please submit spotlight/success stories to an ESC CN Specialist via email.
School Nutrition Program Questions?
- Submit Questions at the link provided.
- These questions are for R6 ESC CN Specialists to review and provide answers to CEs.
Click on the pictures below for a direct link to the webpage.
This guidance is not considered all-inclusive.
- Please see squaremeals.org for further guidance.
- Note: If TDA makes changes to the website direct links in this announcement may become void.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider. This program is funded by the USDA.