School Nutrition Update
DUE TODAY August 31!! SY 20-21 Contracting Entity Application
- Meal Times - Please read the following information carefully in order to determine how to accurately reflect meal times in the TX-UNPS site application.
1. Is this site SERVING only congregate meals?
Yes – for each meal type being served, enter the meal times. Complete and submit the entire site application in TX-UNPS as needed.
No – go to question #2
2. Is this site DISTRIBUTING only non-congregate meals?
Yes – for each meal type being distributed, enter the meal times. Complete and submit the entire site application in TX-UNPS as needed.
No - go to question #3
3. Is this site SERVING/DISTRIBUTING a hybrid of congregate and non-congregate meals?
Yes – enter the entire time meals are being SERVED/DISTRIBUTED for each meal type. Complete and submit the entire site application in TX-UNPS as needed.
Congregate meal time is from 12:00 to 1:00.
Non-congregate meal time is from 11:30 – 12:30.
The meal time for Lunch in the site application would be 11:30 – 1:00 to capture both the congregate and non-congregate meal times.
- Attachment B needs to be current to actual meal counting procedures. This should include in the building meal service and/or GG curbside for virtual learners. The Attachment B is currently only pulling CV sites in TX-UNPS. This issue has been identified and Food and Nutrition is working on resolving.
- Site application - The site application question B5 "Will a nontraditional breakfast service be offered?" Is referring to meal service on-site. Not virtual learners GG meal service.
- Please note that the CE must retain documentation about the times of the meal services, the number of meals served, the methods of serving meals, its method to prevent duplicate meal distribution, and food production records demonstrating that all meals meet the meal pattern.
REMINDER - Attachment B Uploads in NSLP 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.
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.***Online Application - Can take a picture or screenshot for the letter in the electronic application to be converted to a pdf.
SY 20-21 Pre-K Eligibility
- Review guidance thoroughly as CEs must be able to identify a Pre-K student's eligibility in the POS system correctly.
- If a CE establishes the eligibility of pre-K students using a list that indicates each pre-K student’s status as free or reduced, the CE may include all pre-K free students as identified students that count toward a site’s CEP identified student percentage (ISP). The eligibility for these students is established without a household meal application.
- A pre-k student status determined from the program official's list is considered a local categorical eligible benefit status (DC).
Meal Pattern Requirements for SY 20-21
A federal court ruling earlier this year has reversed several NSLP/SBP meal pattern flexibilities. As a result, the following meal pattern changes are effective immediately:
- All grain contribution components must be 100% Whole Grain Rich
- Sodium reduction goals will revert to (original) Sodium Target 2.
- All flavored milk must be fat-free/skim.
Texas CEs have one school year to come into compliance. No action is necessary at this time unless the CE prefers to immediately comply with the current meal pattern including the changes listed above. CEs immediately implementing the meal pattern with the above changes must notify TDA using the form at the link below.
- CEs may select 1, 2, or all 3 sections of the meal pattern to implement now.
30 Operating Days Carryover
- The 30 operational day carryover period is determined using the number of days of actual meal program operation. If the CE was unable to offer meals due to the hurricane, those days would not count against the 30 days.
- Pre-K eligibility from last year carries over to the student in kindergarten for the first 30 operating days.
National School Lunch Program Compliance
The Administrative Review cycle changed from 3 yrs to 4 yrs.
TDA will conduct Administrative Reviews (ARs) on a four-year cycle.
TDA has been approved for a Four-Year Administrative Review Cycle. The first year of the new four-year cycle was School Year 2019-2020. A list of CEs and the year of their new regularly scheduled AR and PR is currently under review. Please note that some CEs may a more frequent review than four years or additional reviews that are not reflected in this list.
See the link provided for Administrative and Procurement Review compliance.
October - Farm to School Month
Farm Fresh Challenge - Postponed this SY 2020-2021
- Farm fresh videos available on squaremeals.org. Weekly videos will be available in October.
- Farm fresh digital resources are available on squaremeals. Click on the icon located on the righthand side of the page to download and/or print to download stickers, buttons, banner, bookmarks and static clings
- Farm Fresh Questions?
Communication to Households
- Child Nutrition information must be available to households. This includes menus. An online website cannot be the sole location for CN information.
Annual Civil Rights Training
- Civil rights training is an annual requirement for all school nutrition programs. This training requirement applies to any CE staff member who takes a role in processing the eligibility for household meal applications, who interacts with participants about program eligibility, or who provides services related to the operation or management of the program. This includes any staff member who collects payments, provides eligibility information, processes applications, handles appeals, or any other activity where there is a possibility of discrimination occurring.
- The civil rights training requirement is not limited to SNP staff.
- The CE is not required to provide Civil Rights training to volunteers, but it is recommended. Training is also not required for individuals who provide information about a student’s participation for a categorical program to SNP staff when the person is not responsible for certifying the eligibility of students for the SNP. This would include, but is not limited to, the homeless liaison, foster liaison, migrant director, or early childhood director who provides a list of students identified as categorical program participants to the SNP. However, if any of these individuals also have a role in managing and/or operating the SNP, the individuals must have civil rights training.
- Teachers, administrators, or other CE staff who help to monitor activities in the cafeteria (on assigned duty) are not required to take the civil rights training. This includes teachers who sit with students to monitor table activities during meals.
- R6 ESC will provide an interactive online course on September 22, 2020, 2 pm - 3 pm. Registration information will be released soon!
- A self-paced online course is available at the link provided.
An email confirmation is sent. Make sure the email address is correct. Check SPAM if not received. It is best practice to copy any verification of completion given on the screen after the course is completed.
Bulk Packaged Items
See Q32 on pages 28-29 pf the FAQs as of 8/28/202032.If I distribute meals over multiple days, may I serve individual components in bulk?
Bulk packaged distribution of food components is a COVID-19 flexibility allowed under the USDA nationwide waivers for non-congregate feeding, meal service times, and no child present (parent pick up), if applicable. Note that pre-plated, unitized meals are not bulk packaged food. Bulk packaged food item distribution is a strategy for packaging multiple meals so that like food items are stored together, yet the food items are easily assembled into a meal and require no more than warming to be eaten.
To implement bulk distribution, CEs must receive approval from TDA before beginning this distribution via the following process:
• Submit the Program Year 2020-2021 Meal Distribution Waiver Usage Intake Form. xxv
• If the bulk distribution option is selected, you will receive an email to complete the Bulk Packaged Food Items for Multiple Meal Distribution Intake form. You must complete and submit this form.
• TDA will provide notification of bulk distribution approval.
An example of bulk packaged items is a gallon of milk for the week of meals.
More detailed information on acceptable and non-acceptable bulk packaged items can be found on page 29 of the FAQs.
Student Cashless Payment Only - Provide Change
See Q30 on page 27 of the FAQs as of 8/28/2020
30.May the CE require households to use a cashless, electronic-only system to make meal payments?
Can the CE require students to apply change from payments to the student's account instead of returning it to the student?
No. To allow equal access to meals for all students, schools must continue to allow cash payments for families that may not have credit/debit cards or access to an electronic money transfer service. The CE cannot require households to make payments by any method that adds a fee or cost to established meal price. Even if the CE covers the credit/debit card fee, the CE cannot require a household to pay exclusively with a credit/debit card. Change from any cash payment must be returned to the student unless the student gives permission for the amount to be applied to the student's account. To address concerns with accepting cash payments on the service line, the CE may require that all cash payments be made at the school office.
At-Risk Enrichment Activity
See page 10, Q6 of the FAQs as of 8/28/2020
6. Am I required to offer an enrichment or educational activity if I am offering non-congregate meals in the NSLP Afterschool Care Program (ASCP) or CACFP At-risk?
The enrichment and education requirements for NSLP ASCP and CACFP At-risk have not been waived by USDA. However, when providing non-congregate meal service, Atrisk and NSLP ASCP operators may meet the enrichment and education requirement through remote enrichment activities, handouts, or other appropriate means as determined at the local level.
Examples of how ASCP and At-risk operators may meet the enrichment/educational requirement include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Providing educational materials/handouts with the non-congregate meals
• Providing remote/online versions of the activities usually provided in person
• Providing resources with links to educational/remote activities.
For information on the education activity requirement in the Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Program (FFVP) see Q48.What are the guidelines for operating the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) during SY 2020-2021? on pages 37-38.
CEs must maintain documentation that demonstrates how they met the enrichment/educational activity requirement.
And Justice for All Poster
41.Do I have to display the “And Justice For All…” poster at my sites established in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency?
Yes. The “And Justice For All…” (AJFA) posters must be prominently displayed at all meal serving sites and areas. It is acceptable to attach a poster to a table, kiosk, cooler, or on the side of bus while distributing meals. The AJFA poster does not need to be displayed on vehicles making door-to-door deliveries. TDA is awaiting further guidance from USDA in light of the nationwide waivers impacting SY 2020-2021. During the COVID-19 public health emergency, CEs may substitute paper copies, as necessary, and may use the 2015 AJFA poster, if the new (2019) posters have not been received.
If printing a paper copy of the AJFA poster, the CE must use the pdf file available on USDA’s FNS website. If 11” x 14” paper is unavailable, the CE must document why it cannot print on this size paper. If 11’ x 14” cannot be used, the CE may print the poster on standard 8.5” x 11” paper. When printing on 8.5” x 11” paper, selecting the printer option to “Fit to Printable Area” will improve the printed quality.
- For more information and to download for print, see squaremeals.org.
Potable Water Requirement
44. Am I required to offer water to students during the COVID-19 public health emergency? Congregate: Schools are generally required to make potable water available to student where meals are served during the meal service. When lunch is served in the classroom, schools are required to make water available. USDA has not waived the potable water requirement for lunch.
The requirement to make water available during breakfast only applies when breakfast is served in the cafeteria.
Non-Congregate: During the COVID-19 public health emergency, when lunch or breakfast is consumed outside of school (non-congregate), the requirement that water be made available does not apply. TDA encourages schools to make water available in all meal service locations as safety permits and recommends that schools check with their local health districts to learn methods to safely provide water at meal times.
*TDA submitted a statewide waiver request to USDA requesting authority to waive the requirement that students be offered water with their meals during the COVID-19 public health emergency. TDA will update this guidance once it receives a response from USDA.
Age/Grade Meal Pattern Requirement
See page 10, Q5 of the FAQs as of 8/28/2020
5. Are there any additional flexibilities that would allow me to waiver the age/grade meal pattern requirements?
USDA issued guidance that age/grade requirements may be waived on a case-by-case basis. TDA is discussing how to implement the new guidance to make the flexibilities available to CEs. **More guidance will be issued soon.
Serving Multiple Meals and Weekend Service
31.May I distribute multiple meals at one time?
Yes. If operating under both the meal service time waiver and the non-congregate feeding waiver, CEs may distribute multiple meals at one time to students or their parent/legal guardian, as long as the CE adheres to the daily maximum amount of meals allowed. CEs distributing meals for multiple days may not provide meals for more than one operational week at a time. Additionally, meals cannot be distributed for consumption on days that curriculum is not being offered, such as weekends or holidays. However, meals may be distributed on a non-school day for consumption on instructional days. Should an unanticipated school closure occur, where no instruction is taking place, and meals for those non-operational days were already distributed earlier in the week, those meals may be claimed. Any multiple meal distribution plan must ensure that duplicate meals are not served to any student for any day.
CEs must document the number of students served by their eligibility type (paid, reduced, free). The following is an example of an allowable method for documenting students when distributing meals over multiple days:
1. Identify students and their eligibility at the point of service for the first meal of the package (for example, if distributing breakfast and lunch for five days on Monday morning, document each student in the POS system as receiving breakfast for Monday).
2. Ensure that any refused meals are not counted at point of service.
3. Calculate the total number of meals served for each meal type for each eligibility status and retain records that document the meals to be claimed by day and by meal type for each eligibility status. CEs must account for the number of meals served by eligibility status for each day whereby meals are claimed.
4. Ensure that food production records are completed for each day that meals are intended to be consumed. Additional information on food production record requirements is located below. CEP sites may count meals using any normally acceptable method that allows the CE to ensure that no duplicate meals are served. CEP sites must retain records that document the meals to be claimed by day and by meal type for all students.
NOTE: If utilizing the method described above, it is crucial that student identification and recordkeeping on the day of distribution is accurate; if a student is discovered to be inaccurately documented, all meals documented for that child that week may be disallowed.
Counting & Claiming - NC Meal Count
45.Do CEs need to use a point of service (POS) system for counting meals served under the COVID-19 waivers?
CEs must have an accurate method for counting and claiming meals. The method must ensure that only one meal for each meal type is claimed for each child each day, even if all the children at the school qualify for free meals via CEP. Additionally, CEs providing both non-congregate and congregate meal service must record the meals served under each respective meal distribution method accordingly. A CE may use its normal POS system, or a system developed specifically for the circumstances. This includes a manual counting method.
Note that TDA has contacted the POS software companies that provide products to Texas CEs. Each company has agreed to provide the following assistance to Texas CEs:
• Method for CEs to code non-congregate reimbursable meals in the POS system.
• Technical assistance on using non-congregate meal codes.
If you have questions related to your POS software, CEs should contact their POS provider customer service representative.
CEs must include the method for counting meals in its Attachment B. TDA provided information on how to update Attachment B forms for SY 2020-2021 above under "Getting Started."
When determining meal counts, the CE must count the individual meals served to each child or picked up for each child. CEs must ensure that they do not use a counting method that allows them to back end into the number of reimbursable meals served. For example, if the CE prepared 100 meals and has 20 meals remaining, the CE cannot subtract 20 from 100 and count 80 reimbursable meals as served or picked up. Instead, the CE must have a method to count each meal served to each child as the meals are served or distributed. The Administrator’s Reference Manual (ARM), Section 20, Counting & Claiming provides extensive guidance on this topic. CEs may also contact their ESC for technical assistance on counting and claiming.
R6 SNP Directors Round Table Meetings
- Region 6 CN Specialists will schedule online meetings throughout the year for school nutrition program directors. These meetings will provide updated guidance and resources.
- Our first meeting was on August 25. An electronic LiveBinder was provided for resources. The LiveBinder will be updated for each meeting.
- Meeting topics are announced with registration information. Moving forward when offering SY 20-21 planning, this will be the sole topic for the meeting.
- For future meeting discussions, please submit questions via padlet. Input is anonymous.
TDA's Online Training Courses
- Square Meals provides "starter courses" online. These courses are informational but TDA expects participants to follow up with an ESC course that provides feedback for a greater learning experience.
- Magnolia ISD Superintendent received the following email:
I want to thank you for all your hard work to make our district successful. I know there are parents that aren't happy but there are many that really appreciate you and all the district does for us.
I live off XXXXXXX in Magnolia and for the last few months, I have been getting food delivered by a school bus to my kids. It has been a huge blessing to have this food. With 4 children my grocery bill can be overwhelming and this food has helped tremendously.
In our negative world where everyone complains, I wanted to share with you something positive.
The bus that came through our neighborhood had amazing people on it. The lady that got off the bus to give us the food always had a smile on her face, she talked to everyone, she asked how our families were doing, one of my neighbors had a child in the hospital and told her about it. She remembered and always asks about his daughter. Another neighbor had her baby and couldn't carry all the bags of food and the bus lady carried her baby back to her house so she could get the food, she hugged our kids, and petted all the dogs that attacked her as she got off the bus.
The lady on the bus preparing the food was so sweet and always treated everyone with a smile and kindness. She talked to the kids and made them smile. The bus driver was a man, my little ones got excited to see the bus. They would go up to the bus door and talk to the driver while I got the food. He kept them busy for me.
For our neighborhood, this bus wasn't just about getting food. We felt like our district cared about us, the ladies made us feel loved and cared about. They knew us and our stories. I don't believe any other district has employees that are like this. So I want to personally thank you for working so hard and creating an environment where our kids are taken care of.
I know whatever decisions come this year that you are doing what's best. Thank You for all you do!
- Magnolia ISD CN newspaper article
- Shepherd ISD 2021 SY Information
*Please send pictures, videos, or simply an explanation of a success story to one of our CN Specialists to spotlight!
Region 6 Child Nutrition Specialists
Child Nutrition Program Specialist, SNP/SSO
Child Nutrition Program Specialist, SNP/SSO
Child Nutrition Program Specialist, CACFP/SFSP
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.