School Nutrition Newsletter

May 27, 2020

COVID-19 Information and Updates

Updates this week include:
  • IDOE - Planning for the Unknown in School Year 2020-2021 Webinar

  • *NEW* Employee Health and Safety Webinar
  • Child Nutrition Program Requirements Update
  • Updated FAQ
  • P-EBT

IDOE continues to work with USDA regarding food service operations and guidance for next school year. We will let schools know as soon as we receive further instruction.

Now Available: 2020-2021 Free and Reduced Paperwork

  • The 2020-2021 free and reduced paperwork is now available in English and Spanish and posted online here.

  • The earliest applications can be distributed to households is July 1.

  • Paperwork updates include:

    • Program year changed to 2020-2021

    • Reduced income guidelines on Parent Letter/Instructions

  • For 2020-2021 Income Guidelines, click here.

  • Schools using an online application should check out the Online Application for Meals Checklist underneath the Online Free and Reduced Applications drop-down box, on this page.

  • Other important reminders:

    • The parent letter and instructions must be included with the application.

    • The application, parent letter, and instructions should all be printed in Landscape view.

    • Applications cannot be distributed or processed before Wednesday, July 1.

    • Reduced eligibility guidelines must be included on the parent letter, schools cannot delete this information.

  • Helpful hints:

    • If you cannot access the 2020-2021 application, you may need to clear your browser’s history.

    • If the formatting does not look correct when you first download the application, make sure you are viewing it in Print Layout.

    • If you are having a problem with printing the entire application, after you add the school corporation’s name, save this file as a .PDF. This should fix any margin or formatting errors.

  • Questions? Contact Allie Caito-Sipe at

Direct Certification (DC)

  • Before applications are released to households, DC should be conducted.

  • The earliest applications can be distributed to households is July 1.

  • Before distributing applications, schools must conduct their first DC match download for the new school year. Remember, households that automatically qualify for DC benefits are not required to complete an application.

  • The DC database is typically not available for the new program year until after the first full week of July. A weekly newsletter will be sent out once sponsors can download their first DC match download.

  • Make sure the school year is updated to 20202-2021 when logging into the DC database in July.

  • Confirm that the school's Real Time (RT) or Enrollment and Mobility (EM) Report is updated in the STN App Center, this will ensure the DC download includes the most current student enrollment.

  • Increasing the number of DC matches is a way to reduce the administrative burden of processing applications and potentially reduce meal charge debt.

  • The following are a few ways to maximize the DC process:

  • Run DC Matches at least once a month after confirming that the school's RT or EM Report is updated in the STN App Center, this will ensure the DC download includes the most current student enrollment.

  • Conduct DC Lookup with every newly transferred student.

  • Perform DC Lookup with every categorical application.

  • In addition to the Standard Match List, ensure the No County, Extended, and Unmatched Case Sibling Matches are being downloaded.

  • Questions about DC? Use the DC/DV Help Form.

USDA's Eligibility Manual for School Meals

  • USDA will not be updating the Eligibility Manual for School Meals for school year 2020-2021.

  • Schools can continue to use the current manual posted on IDOE's website last revised July 2017.

  • Individuals who process Free and Reduced Applications must annually receive training of the most current version of the USDA Eligibility Manual for School Meals and document that they have received this training.

  • While the manual will not be updated this school year, application processors must re-review the guidelines to prepare for the new school year.

  • This manual is a helpful resource and tool when processing free and reduced applications, conducting verification, or determining disclosure requirements.

  • To access this manual, click here.


  • The Verification Process, which starts on October 1, is still required.

  • Sponsors are allowed to conduct Verification for Cause at any point during the school year if the application is questionable. Check out the Verification for Cause fact sheet for more information.

  • All Food Service Contacts should have received a specific e-mail about the school’s verification process required to be completed for school year 2020-2021.

  • Not sure of the school’s specific verification process? Contact Allie Caito-Sipe at

Free and Reduced Resource Updates

  • IDOE is in the process of updating all free and reduced fact sheets, Q&A, DC website, verification website documents, etc.
  • Be on the lookout in future newsletters for these finalized and updated documents and websites.

Indiana Department of Education - School and Community Nutrition

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

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