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School Nutrition Bulletin 2021-38

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Announcements from the WI DPI School Nutrition Team (SNT)

Updates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)


Income Eligibility Guidelines

The Income Eligibility Guidelines (IEGs) to be used in determining eligibility for free and reduced-price meals and free milk for the period from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022 are now available. These guidelines are used by schools, institutions, and facilities participating in the National School Lunch Program (and USDA Foods Program), School Breakfast Program, Special Milk Program for Children, Child and Adult Care Food Program, and Summer Food Service Program. They will be posted to the SNT Free and Reduced Meal Applications webpage soon.

Updates from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) School Nutrition Team (SNT)


Information About Next School Year

In a call with the USDA Midwest Regional Office staff recently, the DPI SNT was informed that information about next school year will be coming out in April 2021. Once we receive this information, we will forward it on to School Food Authorities (SFAs) as we know it will be helpful in the decision-making process for the upcoming school year.

State Aid Payments for Breakfast and Lunch Meals Served

State aid payments for breakfast and lunch meals served will not include meals served under the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). School Food Authorities (SFAs) that served meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option (SSO), and School Breakfast Program (SBP) in school years (SY) 2019-20 and 2020-21, are eligible for state aid payments.

Pandemic EBT Information

Wisconsin has been approved to issue temporary food benefits, called Pandemic EBT or P-EBT, for the school year (SY) 2020-21. The P-EBT program for SY 2020-21 provides food assistance for students that would have received free or reduced-price school meals under the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, but were unable to receive these meals at school because the school is closed, operating virtually, or has been operating with reduced attendance hours for at least five consecutive school days in the current school year. If you are unsure if your school participates in either of these programs, please contact your school to find out.
Throughout the SY 2020-21, most schools in Wisconsin have been serving meals to all students for free under the Child Nutrition Program waivers and flexibilities offered by the USDA, regardless of if the school is operating virtually, in-person, or a hybrid of the two. Therefore, qualifying for P-EBT benefits is not dependent on whether meal service is offered or not.
P-EBT eligibility for SY 2020-21 is based on the following criteria:
  1. The student attends a school that would normally operate the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, and
  2. Student attended school either virtually, a hybrid of in-person and virtual learning, or in-person learning with reduced attendance hours, and
  3. The student is eligible for free or reduced-price school meals or is enrolled in a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) or Provision 2 school.
Over the next few weeks, as families learn of the availability of P-EBT for the SY 2020-21, it is expected schools will receive an increased number of questions from parents and meal application submissions. Families who may not have submitted meal applications or otherwise qualified for meal benefits earlier in the school year may now be attempting to qualify their children for free or reduced-price meals so they may receive P-EBT funds.
In order to ensure eligible families are able to receive the P-EBT funds they may qualify for, it is crucial that any new meal applications received are processed within ten (10) operating days of receipt of the application, the household is notified of its status, and the status must be implemented. Upon application approval, the student’s meal eligibility in the student information system (SIS) and on the benefit issuance (BI) list must be updated. The Food Service Director and/or the free/reduced-price meal benefit determining official at your school should know how to complete this.
  • For public and choice schools, please ensure any updates in the SIS are also reflected in WISE. With many SIS programs, this should occur automatically. However, it is important to verify that this update in WISE does indeed occur. Please also update the benefit issuance (BI) list accordingly.
  • For non-choice private schools, meal benefit eligibility changes should be reflected on the BI list — WISE is not required for non-choice private schools.
At the state level, student eligibility data for P-EBT will come from a combination of direct certification data and data entered into the state WISE portal for food service eligibility. This is why it is essential that WISE is updated when a child is approved for free or reduced-price meal benefits. Collaboration between the school/district’s food service director, free/reduced-price meal benefit determining official, and the WISE coordinator will be needed to ensure successful information updates.
Please note: Approving a school meal application for a child and updating the SIS, BI list, and WISE data does not mean that child will automatically receive P-EBT funds. There are additional eligibility requirements, and families may need to submit a separate online simplified application to receive P-EBT benefits. However, ensuring students are approved for free or reduced-price meal benefits at the school/district level is a necessary first step in establishing P-EBT eligibility.
The collection and approval of school meal applications, running Direct Certification frequently, updating student eligibility statuses in electronic systems, and completion of upcoming school learning model surveys are all key responsibilities of the school administration. There are many layers to the P-EBT program, so each of these items is crucial in helping ensure that eligible children are able to receive these much-needed food benefits.
More information can be found on the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) P-EBT webpage. Questions regarding P-EBT may be directed to

Educational and Enrichment Activities for the Afterschool Snack Program

Here are this week’s educational and enrichment activities you can share directly with students to go along with their afterschool snack. Most of these activities work for in-person students or for virtual or at-home learners, with a variety of activities for different ages. You can share the links with families, or print out the activity sheets and slide into a snack sack, or play the videos during snack time, as you wish.

Reminder: Now Accepting Host Site Applications for the AmeriCorps Farm to School Grant - Notice of Intent to Apply Due Friday, March 19, 2021

The DPI SNT would like to remind you that the Notice of Intent to Apply to become an AmeriCorps Farm to School Program host site is due this Friday, March 19, 2021.
If you are on the fence about applying, here is a great testimonial from one of our newer host sites:
“We are so fortunate to have Emily [our AmeriCorps Farm to School member]. Without having a member to carry out our goals for our garden and farmer connections, we would not be able to accomplish having a garden. Emily is such a strong bonus member to our school community. She is able to put all of her energy into making our dreams of having a garden come true. Without her here, we would still be just talking about [it].” – Jocelyn Smith, AV-W Elementary School Superintendent
March 19, 2021 – Notice of Intent to Apply (Due to DPI)
March 31, 2021 – New Host Site Application (Due to DPI)
April 1 to 9, 2021 – DPI Application Review Process
April 12, 2021 – Target Date for Grant Award Notification
April through August, 2021 – Host Site Member Recruitment and Onboarding
August 15, 2021 – Program Implementation
Please visit the “Request for AmeriCorps Farm to School Program New Host Site Applications” page for complete instructions for filling out the application, what the program is, expectations for the host site, goals of the program, and more! If you have questions about the program, please contact Kara Ignasiak at 715-214-6080 or

Other Updates and Information

On March 5, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Constituent Update (CU) about the FDA Letter to Industry on Chemical Hazards, including Toxic Elements. These resources can be found on the following Toxic Metals page. The direct FDA links are also listed below for your convenience.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
This is a communication from the WI Department of Public Instruction, School Nutrition Team.
You can contact the School Nutrition Team at To subscribe to schoolmealsnews, please send an email to #WISchoolMealsRock