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Seamless Summer Option (SSO) during the COVID-19 School Closures and Summer Meal Service through August 2020


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 through their governing state agency, SFAs serve meals free of charge to children, age 18 years and under, from low-income areas.

Under the current USDA area eligibility waiver, schools and districts with less than 50% free and reduced price eligibility may serve meals as long as they target low-income children without overtly identifying those children as eligible for free or reduced price meals. The area eligibility waiver was extended through August 31, 2020 for open sites. To continue serving meals under the SSO after July 1, 2020, your SFA will need to reapply by completing the SSO Application for SY 2020-21.

Visit the Find a Summer Meals Site to find a site that provides summer meals.

General Information

The types of sites allowed to participate in the SSO include:

  • Open - all children eat free in communities, age 18 and under

  • 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 - A site that serves only an identified group of children age 18 and under, who are participating in a specific program or activity. The area eligibility waiver does not apply to closed enrolled sites; therefore, these sites must meet traditional SSO eligibility requirements. This includes at least 50% of children enrolled at the site are eligible for free or reduced price school meals, or the site is located within the geographical boundaries of a school attendance area with a least 50% of its children approved for free or reduced price school meals, or the site is located within an eligible census track.

The same NSLP and SBP rules apply for meal service. Meals served are reimbursed at the NSLP and/or SBP “free” rates. For clarification on how the Seamless Summer Option differs from our other summer feeding options, please refer to the comparison chart.

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.

Point of Service

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 meal pattern waivers expire June 31, 2020. This includes adhering to vegetable subgroup requirements and providing milk. Sites participating in the SSO that operate on a limited or extended schedule (shorter or longer than a typical 5-day week) should reference the USDA Short and Long Week Calculations for adjustments to the weekly meal pattern requirements.

An open or restricted open site operating the SSO may have difficulty following the age/grade group requirements of the meal pattern due to a variety of age/grade groups that may attend. In this scenario, the site may use the meal pattern for a single age/grade group meeting the minimum meal pattern requirements for the most common age/grade group eating at the site.

Vegetable Subgroup Ideas and Sample Menus


  • SSO Claiming Manual for Meals Served March through June
  • SSO Claiming Manual for Meals Served in July and August
  • Separate meal counts and records must be maintained for meals served under SSO.
  • Meals should be counted on the day they were distributed, not the day they were intended to be consumed. The operating days on the claim is the total number of days for which meals are provided.
  • 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 for meals for children who are enrolled in meal service.
  • Meals can be claimed every day including weekends.
  • Monthly edit checks are not required.

Production Records

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.


For questions about SSO, please contact:

Christine Novak, RDN, CD
Public Health Nutritionist
(608) 261-6325
Brittany Zerbe, MS, RDN, CD
Public Health Nutritionist
(608) 266-5185