Coronavirus Updates for Contracting Entities

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TDA understands the disruption that school and child/adult care facility closures is causing across the state of Texas. We are working diligently to create new resources and tools to assist you with continuing to feed Program participants during this trying time. If you can’t find what you need on this page or one of the Program Resources page to the left, please contact 877-TEX MEAL for assistance.

Please look at the Latest News section just below for the latest updates to guidance!

LATEST NEWS

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Updates 4/1/20

  • USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has issued a new Nationwide Waiver of 60-Day Reporting Requirements for January and February 2020. Under Program statute and regulations, claims for reimbursement must be postmarked or submitted to TDA no more than 60 days after the last day of the month covered by the claim. However, FNS recognizes that during this public health emergency, extensions of these deadlines will grant critical flexibility to State and local agencies as they prioritize the service of safe, accessible meals to eligible populations. This waiver applies to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the School Breakfast Program (SBP), the Special Milk Program (SMP), the Child and Adult Food Care Program (CACFP), and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Please note that TDA is analyzing the requirements and will issue additional guidance pertaining to the implementation of this waiver.

  • With the Easter holiday coming up, TDA has received questions about service on days originally scheduled as a holiday on the school calendar. Per guidance from USDA, the following applies: If the normal school calendar calls for a school closure, any meals served on that day may not be claimed for reimbursement. Meals served on holidays and normal closure days may not be submitted for reimbursement.

COVID-19 Waiver and Flexibility Requests

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Updated 3/29/20

The Texas Department of Agriculture is requesting waivers from USDA to support the continued operation of meal service should coronavirus impact operations. Not all waivers are approved; should USDA approve any waivers related to meal service, TDA will update SquareMeals.org/coronavirus with further instructions. CEs should wait until they know the extent of the impact of coronavirus before submitting an application for any released waivers. Click here for all of the waivers submitted and under development, and the status of each.

COVID-19 Waiver Intake Forms

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In order to implement Nationwide Waivers and other statewide waivers related to COVID-19, Program operators need to submit their intent to participate along with additional information.Choose the applicable Intake Form from the list below:


Note that TDA will add more intake forms to this list as they are created. Forms will also be posted on the Programs' respective Resources pages.

No Child Present Waiver Guidance

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USDA has approved for State Agencies to develop a plan to allow parents to pick up meals without their children present. Contracting entities must notify TDA of their intent to utilize this option by completing this intake form. Refer to our quick reference one-pager for more information on this waiver, and contact your Education Service Center for additional guidance.

COVID-19 Meal Pattern Flexibility Intake Form

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Please complete the intake form to utilize flexibilities provided by USDA related to meeting the meal pattern during COVID-19. This waiver applies to NSLP, SFSP, SSO, and CACFP. Please click here to access the instructions and the intake form.

 

Program operators are expected to maintain and meet the nutrition standards for each program to the greatest extent possible but can utilize the request form to request flexibilities related to the meal pattern.

Food Service Management Company (FSMC) Procurement Processes

Updated 3/26/20

Due to the current situation of unanticipated school closures due to COVID-19, TDA is providing updated guidance concerning the current FSMC bid process. During this time of social distancing, pre-bid meetings will not be mandatory. If a district decides to hold its pre-bid meeting as initially planned, districts may accept bid proposals from companies that did not attend the meeting. For districts deciding to cancel pre-bid meetings, an announcement should be sent to all companies listed on the TDA approved vendor list and copy Teresa.Cornett@texasagriculture.gov and Lena.Wilson@texasagriculture.gov.

Also, during this time of unanticipated school closure, districts may receive proposals electronically by the time and day listed in the Legal Notice and the RFP.  However, companies should still send hard copies/thumb drives of their proposals to the address noted on the Legal Notice and RFP as soon as feasible. Districts may also choose to have hard copies/thumb drives sent to an alternate address, but must notify all companies on the Texas approved vendor list of the change. TDA does not require a public bid opening. However, districts may have policies requiring this practice. 


Nationwide Waivers

Updated 4/1/20
To date, USDA has issued the following Nationwide Waivers to increase flexibility in operating the Child Nutrition Programs during the COVID-19 outbreak (Note: this list will be updated as new Nationwide Waivers are issued):

  1. Nationwide Waiver to Allow Meal Service Time Flexibility in the Child Nutrition Programs
  2. Nationwide Waiver to Allow Non-congregate Feeding in the Child Nutrition Programs
  3. Nationwide Waiver of the Activity Requirement in Afterschool Care Child Nutrition Programs
  4. Nationwide Waiver to Allow Meal Pattern Flexibility in the Child Nutrition Programs
  5. Nationwide Waiver to Allow Parents and Guardians to Pick Up Meals for Children
  6. Nationwide Waiver of Community Eligibility Provision Deadlines in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs
  7. Nationwide Waiver of Monitoring Requirements for Sponsors in the Child and Adult Care Food Program
  8. Nationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements for State Agencies in the Child and Adult Care Food Program
  9. Nationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements in the School Meals Programs
  10. Nationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements for Sponsoring Organizations in the Summer Food Service Program
  11. Nationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements for State Agencies in the Summer Food Service Program
  12. Nationwide Waiver of 60 Day Reporting Requirements for January and February 2020

           

While TDA has notified USDA that the agency will enact the above Nationwide Waivers, we are analyzing the requirements associated with each to establish the process for implementation. Refer to our latest FAQ below for the latest guidance on the latest waivers.


Frequently Asked Questions

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Updated 3/25/20
The Texas Department of Agriculture continues to work with state and federal partners to address the response to COVID-19. TDA will continue to provide guidance received from USDA and other state partners to contracting entity partners that offer Food & Nutrition programs to Texans. Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions below for the latest guidance related to operations during COVID-19:


Legislative Updates

Updated 3/19/20
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Additional Resources and Guidance

Updated 3/18/20
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Message from TDA Assistant Commissioner

Updated 3/16/20
Click here to read TDA Assistant Commissioner for Food and Nutrition Angela Olige's letter to school superintendents regarding regulations for schools serving meals during the Governor's disaster declaration for Texas.

Assistance available in English and Spanish. Please call 877-TEX-MEAL (877-839-6325) for help.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

Mail:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.



Texas Department of Agriculture
Commissioner Sid Miller