USDA Provides Q&A for Suite of Nationwide Waivers in SY 2021-2022
On June 11th, USDA issued Questions and Answers for Child Nutrition Program Operations in School Year 2021-2022 to clarify questions that arose after the suite of nationwide waivers published in April. These waivers are to address the complexities of feeding children in school and child care as we recover, in different ways, from the pandemic. Be sure to read what the Q&A actually says for the questions below.
Here are some of the questions that address CACFP:
Question Number 4 on page 4: Three nationwide waivers indicate that they are available through June 20, 2022 but should only be used until "greater levels of congregation in in-school setting s is safe and healthy to pursue. Who determines when congregate meal service is safe and healthy to pursue? USDA says that local operators and state agencies are best positioned to know how long and to what extent the waivers are needed. This refers to the non-congregate meal service, meal times and allow parents and guardians to pick up meals waivers.
Question Number 18 on page 8: Can the CACFP At-Risk Afterschool Program continue to operate in summer 2021 after schools close for summer vacation? For example, if a school officially ends SY 2020-2021 on May 30, 2021, can the school continue to operate CACFP At-Risk until June 30, 2021? The short answer is no. USDA points to P-EBT as an opportunity to help these families in need.
Question 19 on page 9: Under the area eligibility waiver (Nationwide Waiver #93), how long are day care homes eligible to receive the tier 1 reimbursement rates? In the states that elect to use it the period is from July 1,2021 through June 30, 2022. After this, eligibility for tiering will resume as normal. If a tier 1 provider had been classified as tier 1 prior to July 1, 2021 - they will remain tier one through the end of the previously determined 5 year period.
Question 20 on page 9: Can new family day care home providers use the area eligibility waiver? Yes! However, after June 30, 2022, eligibility for tiering will resume as prior to the waiver. Note: Daycare home providers that serve their own children will still need to meet the criteria listed under 7 CFR 226.18(e).
Question 21 on page 9: Are meals served to providers' own children eligible for tier 1 reimbursement rate? Sponsors need to determine eligibility as normal. Providers' own children are not automatically reimbursed at the tier 1 rate.
Question 23 on page 10: What justification is needed for State agency to approve a meal pattern waiver? State agencies have discretion to determine the justification needed to approve a meal pattern waiver.
Question 26 on page 14: Under Nationwide Waiver #91, child and adult care providers are permitted to request a waiver to offer low fat (1%) flavored milk. What age/grade group does this apply to? This waiver applies to 6 years and older and adults.
Question 32 on page 13: Can the state implement a blended (off-site and on-site) monitoring approach? For example, on-site monitoring for high-risk sponsors and off-site monitoring for low-risk sponsors? Yes. The states have flexibility and the waivers are not prohibitive of on-site visits.
Question 34 on page 14: The Nationwide On-site Monitoring Waivers "remain in effect until 30 days after the end of the public health emergency." Is this based on a Federal Declaration of a public health emergency, or a State declaration of a public health emergency? These waivers are dependent upon the Federal public health emergency which was declared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on January 31, 2020. The waivers will expire 30 days after HHS declares the public health emergency has ended.
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