Announcements from the WI DPI School Nutrition Team (SNT)
Updates from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) School Nutrition Team (SNT)
Welcome Back! Please take the time to read through this important information. The Back-to-School edition of the SchoolMealsNews Bulletin is written at the start of each new school year to provide you with important:
- Dates and deadlines;
- Reminders; and
- Updates pertaining to the CNPs.
The School Nutrition Team asks that you share this with others that may need to know this information as well.
On April 20, 2021, USDA released COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #85
, which allows the SSO to operate during the regular school year, effective July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022. All schools or districts may participate in the SSO, without meeting traditional area eligibility requirements. Under SSO, all National School Lunch (NSLP), School Breakfast (SBP) and/or Afterschool Snack (ASP) requirements still apply, but meals are provided at no charge to students. The maximum number of meals that may be offered under the SSO is two meals, or one meal and one snack, per child, per day, in any combination except lunch and supper. Per COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #86
, SFAs participating in SSO will claim all SSO meals and/or snacks at the higher Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Reimbursement Rates
. The SSO facilitates a safer meal service by eliminating the need to collect meal payments and speeds up service of meals, thereby reducing contact and potential exposure to COVID–19. It also meets the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for safe school meal service, which include serving meals outdoors or in classrooms. All SFAs are strongly encouraged to participate in the SSO for SY 2021-22. This includes Residential Child Care Institutions (RCCIs) and SFAs participating in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) at the 100% free claiming percentage.
This online course provides a comprehensive resource on the SSO. Information is current for SY 2021-22 and specific to operating this program during the Federal public health emergency.
This document contains frequently asked questions and answers related to serving school meals under the SSO during COVID-19 in SY 2021-22. It contains lots of important information for program operation. Questions and answers #139-145 have important information regarding free and reduced price meal applications, verification, and Direct Certification.
SSO claims are submitted through the Online Services Claiming Portal
for each site physically serving meals. Check out these great resources for specific instructions on how to enter claims.
As we approach the new school year, the SNT is aware of possible supply chain issues that may affect a schools’/districts’ ability to get foods that meet meal pattern requirements. USDA is allowing a meal pattern flexibility waiver for this school year. A member of the School Nutrition Team will respond to your request as soon as possible. If granted approval for a meal pattern flexibility, please keep in mind that it is always best practice to provide children with a variety of healthy options that align as closely as possible with the child nutrition program meal patterns.
The following flexibilities may be requested for SY 2021-22:
- offering one age/grade group meal pattern to all students
- dietary specification for sodium
- whole grain-rich requirements for K-12 and preschool
- serving 1% flavored milk
- milk variety
- vegetable subgroups
All requests must be justified and will be approved on a case-by-case basis. Justifications for approval may include procurement, supply chain or availability issues, unresolvable food safety concerns, and plans to support access to nutritious meals while minimizing potential exposure to COVID-19. Flexibilities cannot be granted due to cost, waste, student acceptance, packaging restrictions, and/or messiness of certain foods.
Those SFAs receiving an Administrative Review (AR) during SY 2021-22 have been notified. A list of SFAs receiving an AR can be found under the resources section on the Administrative Review Webpage
. This webpage also details the specific areas of the AR.
Upcoming Training Opportunities
Professional Standards Reminders
The Professional Standards for School Nutrition Programs rule requires minimum hiring requirements for new Food Service Directors and ongoing training hours for school nutrition professionals, whether the SFA operates the school nutrition program or contracts with a food service management company. Compliance for professional standards is included as part of the Administrative Review (AR). Each SFA must have someone designated as the Food Service Director (FSD).
- During the AR, the DPI Nutrition Program Consultant will review compliance with professional standards including reviewing the training completed for school nutrition staff and the process of tracking the completed hours annually and review documentation to ensure new food service directors meet the minimum hiring requirements.
- Reminder for SFAs with a Food Service Management Company (FSMC): The person designated as the FSD, and who is directly responsible for the management of the day-to-day operations of school nutrition programs, is required to meet the hiring, annual training, and annual 8 hours of food safety training requirements. This person can be a FSMC employee or SFA employee. The Authorized Representative listed on the school nutrition contract must be a SFA employee. The AR does not need to meet the hiring requirements or the 8 hours of food safety training but does need to meet the annual training requirements for a FSD of 12 hours per year.
The DPI SNT Professional Standards Webpage is a great resource. The “In A Nutshell- Hiring a Food Service Director,” and “In A Nutshell- Training Requirements'' are two helpful tools.
This campaign aims to increase international flavors in USDA School Meals Programs! DPI would like to acknowledge that food can do more than just nourish the body, but it can also offer an invitation to participate in and explore the many diverse cultures of Wisconsin students. Join the School Nutrition Team (SNT) and School Food Authorities (SFAs) across the state in this week-long culinary adventure, kicking off on Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Day, 2022. What better way to celebrate the unique cultural backgrounds of students across this great state than by remembering the legacy of MLK Jr. and his dream of equality and inclusion for everyone.
Don't miss out on this opportunity to fly "Around the World in 80 Trays." Use the week of January 17-21, 2022 to introduce new flavors, create culturally inspired dishes, explore the tantalizing world of herbs and spices, and connect with your students! Visit the Around the World in 80 Trays Webpage
, for ideas and inspiration.
Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch
Celebrate National Farm to School Month this October by crunching into locally and regionally grown apples at NOON on Thursday, October 14! All schools, hospitals, and other organizations in the Great Lakes region are invited to participate. Last October 807,796 students, children, teachers, and good food supporters across the region crunched into local apples. Let’s join forces and meet the ONE MILLION CRUNCH goal this year! For more information and registration, please visit the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems Webpage
. Visit the Apple Crunch Facebook Page
to get updates and see photos from last year’s Crunch.
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This is a communication from the WI Department of Public Instruction, School Nutrition Team.
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