CACFP COVID-19 Waivers and Flexibilities
The Iowa Department of Education Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services has received approval from USDA Food and Nutrition Services of waivers to support access to nutritious meals through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Approved USDA and State Waiver Requests
USDA has extended the following nationwide flexibilities to ensure America’s children receive the nutritious food they need throughout the upcoming school year as the nation recovers from the coronavirus. It allows CACFP providers to tailor operations to serve the children in their care. The following waivers will remain in effect through June 30, 2021:
- Nationwide Waiver to Allow Non-congregate Feeding in the Child Nutrition Programs – EXTENSION #2.
- Nationwide Waiver to Allow Meal Service Time Flexibility in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and Child and Adult Care Food Program – EXTENSION #2
- Nationwide Waiver to Allow Parents and Guardians to Pick Up Meals for Children – EXTENSION #2
Approval is not required, but you must complete a survey to notify the State agency that you will participate in any of the three waivers listed above. The survey must be completed even if you submitted a previous survey.
- Nationwide Waiver to Allow Meal Pattern Flexibility in the Child Nutrition Programs – EXTENSION #4
Independent center programs, and center sponsors and home sponsor organizations are required to notify the State agency if they intend to use the waiver by completing the CACFP Meal Pattern Waiver Survey when required components/foods are not available in their local market, and the reason for the unavailability. Home sponsors need to submit the waiver when home providers inform their sponsor of unavailability. Organizations can complete the survey more than once to report food shortages as they change over time.
The Iowa Department of Education Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services has received approval from USDA Food and Nutrition Services of the following waiver requests:
- Nationwide Waiver of Monitoring Requirements for Sponsors in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (extended until August 31, 2020)
- Centers must complete the Monitoring Waiver Survey if they intend to use this waiver.
- Home Sponsor organizations must submit a Management Plan Addendum to the State Agency to indicate their request to use the waiver.
- Nationwide Waiver of the Activity Requirement in Afterschool Care Child Nutrition Programs
USDA has issued the following question and answer documents to provide additional guidance and clarification regarding the Nationwide waivers issued by FNS, related to access to nutritious meals, meal service, and monitoring flexibilities during the COVID-19 public health emergency:
- Child Nutrition Program Nationwide Waivers: Questions and Answers
- Child Nutrition Program Meal Service During Novel Coronavirus Outbreaks: Questions and Answers #3
- Questions and Answers related to the Child Nutrition Program Monitoring and Reporting Nationwide Waivers
- Child Nutrition Program Meal Service during Novel Coronavirus Outbreaks: Questions and Answers #4
Schools Approved to Provide Meals
Schools and non-profit organizations across the state have been approved to provide meals during unanticipated school closures under the USDA Summer Food Service Program. To learn more about approved sites, visit the Iowa Department of Education’s Summer Food Service Program webpage. Home providers receiving meals through SFSP cannot claim those meals for CACFP reimbursement. It is recommended providers maintain a separate record to track meals served from other sources.
- CACFP: Providing Multiple Meals at a Time During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic - use of “bulk” foods, best practices, and parent communication
- Best Practices for Parent Pick-Up of Meals and Snacks
- USDA Flexibilities Provided During COVID-19
- Nutrition Standards for CACFP Meals and Snacks
- Caring for Children with Social Distancing - training sponsored by the National CACFP Sponsors Association
- CACFP Grab ‘n Go Menu
- COVID-19 DHS Resources - childcare guidance and support, including food security
- ServeSafe Delivery and ServeSafe Takeout - free training videos on COVID-19 precautions in English and Spanish
- CDC’s COVID-19 Pandemic Child Care (Re)Opening Decisions Guidance
CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response and the President’s Plan for Opening America Up Again - Appendix F: pages 38-41 relate to child care