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Seamless Summer Option (SSO) during COVID-19


School Food Authorities (SFAs) participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP) are eligible to apply for the SSO. Once approved, SFAs serve meals free of charge to children, age 18 years and under.

NEW! The SSO in SY 2021-22 E-Learning Course

SSO Requirements Checklist

2021-22 School Nutrition Programs Q&A: Serving School Meals Under Seamless Summer Option

All schools or districts may participate on the SSO, without meeting traditional area eligibility requirements through June 30, 2022. Under current USDA guidance, schools and districts with less than 50% free and reduced-price eligibility may serve meals under the SSO as long as they target low-income children without overtly identifying those children as eligible for free or reduced price meals.
General Information and Program Outreach

Site Type

Each SSO site must be designated as one of the following site types:
  • Open - all children eat free in communities, age 18 and under, including children who may not be enrolled in the district.

  • Restricted Open - sites that meet the open site criteria, explained above, but are later restricted for safety, control, or security reasons. Serves children age 18 and under.

  • Closed Enrolled - sites that serve only an identified group of children age 18 and under, who are participating in a specific program or activity. Closed enrolled sites can only serve enrolled children. If the site wishes to serve siblings of enrolled students and/or other children in the community, not enrolled in school, these sites should be classified as open or restricted open sites.

The same NSLP and SBP rules apply for meal service. Meals served are reimbursed at the NSLP and/or SBP “free” rates. As of July 1, 2021 SSO meals will be reimbursed at the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) reimbursement rates.

Program Outreach - Family Letter Templates

SFAs may use these templates to announce to families about their participation in the SSO for SY 2021-22. These letters are optional and do not replace the public notification requirement To alert families of changes to your menus this school year, use the Menu Changes Template

Menu Planning and Meal Service

Meal Types

The maximum number of meals that may be offered under the SSO is up to two meals, or one meal and one snack, per child, per day, in any combination except lunch and supper.

Meal Pattern

SFAs that participate in the SSO must follow the SBP and NSLP meal pattern requirements unless they have an approved meal pattern waiver. All SSO meal pattern waivers expire June 30, 2022. Use the SSO Family Letter for Menu Changes Template (Spanish)(Hmong) to alert families of changes to your menus this school year.

Is your SFA experiencing meat/meat alternate shortages? The SNT created a NEW resource with menu ideas: Get Creative with Meat and Meat Alternates

Production Records

Production records are required when serving meals under SSO. Sites operating the SSO may document meals served using the same production record templates used for meals served in the SBP and NSLP. The DPI prototype SBP and NSLP production records may be found on the DPI Production Record webpage.



Meal Counting and Claiming

Point of Service


    • SSO Claiming Manual for Meals Served July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022
    • Site-Based Claiming for SSO webcast - New!
    • Separate meal counts and records must be maintained for meals served under SSO. If serving multiple types of meals at one time (i.e. breakfast and lunch), separate counts should be kept for the breakfast and lunch meals separately.
    • Meals may be counted on the day distributed, but must be claimed for the day the meal is intended to be consumed. This is especially important when a week crosses months.
    • All meals served in the SSO are claimed in the 'free' category.
    • Meals may be claimed for all children age 18 and under for open or restricted open sites. Closed enrolled sites may only claim meals for enrolled students.
    • Edit checks are not required for SSO sites during the period of time that the SFA is operating the sites under the SSO policies. However, SFAs must ensure that meal counts match actual participation and claims reflect the number of meals served.
    Onsite Monitoring

    Each year, SFAs are required to conduct monitoring visits of school meal service sites to do a self-assessment of the counting, claiming and general areas to ensure program integrity and accountability, this includes SFAs operating under SSO. The School Nutrition Team (SNT) has received clarification from the USDA that only SFAs with more than one SSO site are required to conduct monitoring visits. This includes SSO sites that your SFA may have elected to add to your Program Operations Application to service school or community sites outside of your SFA.

    The SSO Monitoring Form (printable) has been created to more accurately reflect operations under the SSO. The form can be utilized for both breakfast and lunch and must be completed annually by February 1 for sites serving lunch and 50% of the sites serving breakfast so that each school operating the School Breakfast Program is reviewed once every two years.

    The requirement to complete site monitoring through an onsite visit can be waived under the COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #94 during COVID-19. For SFAs that elected to waive the requirement to complete the monitoring onsite, the monitoring form(s) still need to be completed for each applicable site through a desk audit. All other onsite monitoring requirements are still in effect, including the requirement to complete monitoring by February 1. Please note, this waiver is in effect until 30 days after the end of the public health emergency, declared by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. If the public health emergency is lifted within the school year, SFAs will need to transition to onsite monitoring.

    Childcare Centers and Schools under the SSO (not the same entity as the SFA)

    In SY 2021-22, SFAs may provide meals under the SSO to childcare centers without Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) contracts and schools without NSLP/SBP contracts and/or Special Milk Program (SMP) contracts, that are not the same entity as the SFA. To provide meals in these situations, the sponsoring SFA (SFA providing the meals) must sign the SSO Sponsor Site Agreementwith the receiving site (who will be receiving the meals). The agreement outlines requirements for the sponsoring SFA and receiving site. The completed agreement must be sent to before the sponsoring SFA starts providing meals to the receiving site.



    For questions about SSO, please email:

    Return to Child Nutrition Programs COVID-19 homepage