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CACFP COVID-19 Waivers and Flexibilities


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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.

USDA Nationwide Waivers

USDA has issued several new COVID-19 waivers for the school year 2021-22. The CACFP waivers approved in Iowa are listed below. Waivers are intended to support CACFP providers in continuing to offer nutritious meals while safely and successfully reopening. Most waivers are available through June 30, 2022 and the flexibilities offered should be implemented when needed to ensure the safe provision of meals related to the public health emergency.

#87 - Allows meals and snacks to be served in a non-congregate setting - effective 7/1/2021-6/30/2022
#88 - Waives the requirement for meals and snacks to be served at set times - effective 7/1/2021-6/30/2022
#89 - Allows parents to take meals home for their own children - effective 7/1/2021-6/30/2022
#91 - Allows programs to waive serving one whole grain-rich food item per day; allows programs to serve 1% flavored milk to participants school age and above; and waives full implementation of ounce equivalents by 10/1/2021 - effective 7/1/2021 - 6/30/2022.
#93 - Allows all At-Risk Afterschool Care Programs and family home day care providers (Tier 1 Waiver) to be eligible for free meals and snacks regardless of their location - effective 7/1/2021-6/30/2022. Contact if you wish to add a new At-Risk site under the waiver.
#95 - Allows State agencies to conduct monitoring reviews off site - effective immediately and ends 30 days after the end of the public health emergency as determined by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
#96 - Allows CACFP Sponsors to conduct self-monitoring reviews off site - effective immediately and ends 30 days after the end of the public health emergency as determined by HHS.

The waivers are available to utilize without further application. To assist with reporting requirements, complete the following surveys to inform the State agency of your plans to use each waiver:

If you select the meal pattern waiver, you must complete a separate meal pattern waiver request that must be approved by the State agency. These flexibilities should be used if there is a need based on plans to support access to nutritious meals while minimizing the exposure to COVID-19. The meal pattern waiver request can be completed more than once if needed.

USDA Memos

CACFP 02-2022 - Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Flexibilities During COVID-19 Supply Chain Disruptions - This memo provides guidance on flexibilities, and opportunities for discretion while monitoring meal pattern compliance, during COVID-19 supply chain disruptions. The content is summarized below:

  • The State agency is not required to take fiscal action if programs that prepare meals on site do not meet CACFP requirements if they determine that corrective action will be effective.
  • Non-competitive procurement is allowed if needed due to the public emergency.
  • The CACFP operator may apply for a waiver for the areas listed below to address supply chain issues that impact their ability to follow the meal pattern. A meal pattern waiver request must be completed and approved by the State agency in order to use the waiver.
  • 1% milk served to school aged children and adults can be flavored
  • the implementation of grain ounce equivalents can be delayed past 10/1/2021
  • the whole grain-rich requirement may be waived
  • If fluid milk is not available, the State agency may approve serving powdered or evaporated milk instead
  • Organizations should continue to meet meal pattern requirements to the fullest extent possible.
  • Menu substitutions must be recorded and final menus on file must document the actual meal components served. The reasons for substitutions must be documented and kept on file.
  • The State agency will prioritize providing technical assistance over fiscal action during reviews for non-compliance related to supply chain issues.

USDA Question and Answer Documents

The following documents provide additional guidance and clarification regarding the nationwide waivers issued by FNS:

USDA Waiver Requests - Public Notification

The Iowa Department of Education Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services is seeking the following waivers from the United State Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service.

Submitted and Approved USDA Waiver Request

Submitted USDA Waiver Requests

  • None at this time.

Program Integrity

To promote and maintain the accountability and integrity of the USDA Child Nutrition Programs, CACFP organizations are required to implement procedures to ensure that meals are responsibly distributed to parents/guardians of eligible students, and that duplicate meals are not distributed. When providing non-congregate meals that are picked up by parents, it is important for parents to be informed to not take a meal or snack for consumption at home if that same meal or snack will be provided by the school. In CACFP child and adult care centers, Head Start, outside school hours, child care, and preschools, children are allowed to receive up to one meal and two snacks or two snacks and one meal per child per day.

Integrity Sign - Sample sign that may be posted at meal distribution sites and provided to families.

CACFP Resources

For more information on USDA waivers, contact the CACFP Nutrition Consultant in your region:

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on May 19, 2022 at 7:07pm.