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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.

SSO Requirements Checklist

SSO Family Letter Template

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. 

Summer 2021 SSO Operations

Complete this application ONLY if you are serving meals in the summer months. Provide site information to reflect how SSO will operate between academic school years.

Summer 2021 SSO Application

School Year (SY) 2021-22 Program Operations Application

All schools or districts should complete this application for SY 2021-22. If your school or district will operate more than 6 SSO sites, please utilize the SSO Site Google Sheet OR Excel Sheet to report your site-specific information in addition to completing the SY 2021-22 Program Operations Application.

SY 2021-22 Program Operations Application

SSO Sites Google Sheet

SSO Sites Excel Sheet

General Information

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.

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 September 30, 2021. 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.

SSO sites 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. Please complete the meal pattern waiver (same as above), if you plan to utilize one meal pattern for all age/grade groups.

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.



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 review each SSO site at least once during its operation. The SFA must review the site’s compliance with meal counting, claiming, menu planning, and food safety requirements. The USDA COVID-19 Child Nutrition Response #94 (Onsite Monitoring Requirements in the School Meal Programs - Revised - EXTENSION 3) gives SFAs the ability to waive this requirement until 30 days after the end of the public health emergency. SFAs are still encouraged to complete the onsite monitoring to the maximum extent possible, as a desk review using a SSO monitoring review form (coming soon).


    For questions about SSO, please email:

    Return to Child Nutrition Programs COVID-19 homepage