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Wisconsin Supreme Court Decision and USDA Waiver Updates

Friday, May 15, 2020

Dear District Administrator,

This email contains updates regarding both the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court decision and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) meal service.

Supreme Court Decision

In further reviewing the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision, please be aware that public and private schools remain closed for pupil instruction and extracurricular activities through June 30. For any activity that is not pupil instruction or an extracurricular activity, schools should consult with their local health departments as to how to engage in that activity safely, or whether to engage in that activity at all.

Schools should also plan for how to provide pupil instruction and extracurricular activities safely once restrictions expire. To that end, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is working with the Department of Health Services (DHS) to provide you with additional health recommendations.

As you consider activities such as graduation, which is not typically considered an extracurricular activity, please review earlier graduation guidance released by DHS and consult with your local health authority as to how to how to hold a safe alternative graduation activity on or off school grounds.

If any of the current restrictions or timelines change in the coming weeks, the DPI will provide updated information as soon as possible.

USDA Meal Service Waiver Extensions

The USDA extended the following waivers nationwide for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) through August 31, 2020 for:

  • Non-Congregate Feeding. USDA is continuing to allow meals to be served to children outside of the normally-required group setting to support social distancing.
  •  Parent Pickup. USDA is continuing to allow parents and/or guardians to pick up meals and bring them home to their children.
  •  Meal Times. USDA is continuing to waive requirements that meals be served at certain standard times to allow for grab-n-go options. This also allows for multiple days-worth of meals to be provided at once.

Note that implementing these waivers is optional. If there is in-person programming taking place at a site, onsite meal service is allowed for those children following any guidelines in place for your city or county. Non-congregate meal service can be provided at the same location for children that are not taking part in the onsite programming.

The waiver to allow meal pattern flexibility was also extended. USDA extended the effective date of the nationwide waiver to allow meal pattern flexibility through June 30, 2020. This waiver extends previously approved waivers and allows agencies to submit waiver requests if experiencing supply disruptions for one or more components that begin during this extended period. A meal pattern flexibility waiver should only be completed if your agency is currently experiencing difficulty procuring and serving one or more components per meal pattern requirements. You do not need to resubmit a waiver form for meal pattern flexibility on components already approved if you are still experiencing these same supply disruptions.

For more information visit DPI’s Child Nutrition Program COVID-19 Information webpage or DPI’s general COVID-19 webpage.