Latest Coronavirus Updates
Coronavirus Updates for Contracting Entities
**ATTENTION: ALL CONTRACTING ENTITIES**
The new "Declare or Decline COVID-19 Meal Service Waiver Options Form" must be submitted by ALL CEs to indicate plans to use or not use waivers as described in the Form Instructions and the COVID-19 FAQs. For more information, click here.


COVID-19 Guidance


IMPORTANT DOCUMENTATION
Food Program Application Update Windows in TX-UNPS This resource is intended to provide all contracting entities with information on when a program application can be updated for the applicable program year.
Emergency Operational Cost Reimbursement Program Section 722 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 provides additional funds to State agencies that administer NSLP, SBP, and CACFP. USDA will provide these funds to TDA through two temporary reimbursement programs.
COVID-19 Intake Forms TDA is requiring all program operators utilizing COVID-19 waivers to submit information to USDA regarding waiver usage. Refer to this page to identify which forms are required based on your program and elected waivers.
CE Compliance Profile Review your current waiver selection.
Meal Pattern Requirement for School Year (SY) 2020-2021 The following meal pattern changes are in effect after a federal court ruling reversed several NSLP/SBP meal pattern flexibilities.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Summer 2021
Operations FAQ
School Year
2021-2022 FAQ
CACFP COVID-19
Operations FAQ

COVID-19 Waiver and Flexibility Requests


Updated 6/18/2021

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.


For a list of nationwide waivers,
click here.

Latest News


Updated 6/16/2021
USDA issued a nationwide waiver that allows NSLP/SBP Contracting Entities to complete their first triennial Local Wellness Policy assessment by June 30, 2022. CEs wishing to use this flexibility must notify TDA by completing this COVID-19 Local Wellness Policy Flexibility Intake Form by June 30, 2021. After June 30, this form will no longer be available.

CEs electing to use the June 30, 2022, deadline would complete a second triennial assessment by June 30, 2025. Operators that are prepared to complete their triennial assessment by the original extended date of June 30, 2021, are encouraged to do so.

Updated 4/23/2021
On April 20, USDA issued a suite of new nationwide waivers addressing Child Nutrition Program operations in School Year 2021-2022 and Summer 2021. TDA will be addressing these new waivers in statewide calls and a brand new FAQ document. Highlights from the new waivers include:
  • Seamless Summer Option (SSO) will be available for schools in SY 2021-22.
  • SSO operators will be able to operate in any location regardless of area eligibility.
  • SSO meals can be claimed at the SFSP reimbursement rate beginning July 1, 2021.
  • Non-congregate, alternate meal times, parent pick-up, offsite monitoring, and OVS in High School Waivers have been extended through June 30, 2022 for all applicable programs.
  • Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) At-risk will have area eligibility waivers extended through SY 2021-22.
  • Day Care Home Providers will be reimbursed at the Tier I rate, regardless of location.
  • New, specific Meal Pattern Flexibilities have been granted to CACFP beginning July 1, 2021 and to the School Nutrition Programs beginning October 1, 2021. These flexibilities will expire June 30, 2022, but will only be granted on a case-by-case basis.

Updated 3/10/2021
On March 9, 2021, USDA extended several nationwide waiver flexibilities for the summer meals programs until school resumes at the end of summer. Note that these waiver extensions apply specifically to SFSP and SSO only.

The extended waivers include: 

  • Meal Service Times 
  • Non-Congregate 
  • Parent/Guardian Meal Pick-Up
  • Meal Pattern Flexibility (SSO only)
  • Area Eligibility 
  • Area Eligibility for Closed Enrolled Sites
  • First Week Site Visits
  • Offer Versus Serve (OVS)

TDA opted into the extensions and will be updating the COVID-19 FAQs and webpages soon.

Updated 1/29/2021
The location of the intake forms has changed. Use the table above to navigate to the intake forms as well as other important documentation. As always, read the FAQ to stay up-to-date on the latest guidance.

Updated 11/2/2020

In the “Administrative Relief Exceptions for COVID-19 Crisis” Appendix A of OMB Memorandum 20-26 issued on June 18, 2020, recipients and sub-recipients in receipt of COVID-19 funding must separately identify the COVID-19 expenditures on the Schedules of Expenditures of Federal Awards (SEFA), Data Collection Form (SF-SAC), and audit report findings.


FNS incorporated COVID-19 funding into an existing program and Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number and recipients and sub-recipients have been informed of distinguishing the COVID-19 funds from regular sub-awards under the existing program. The information in this section is informing TDA’s sub-recipients of the amount which should be reported separately as COVID-19 Pandemic expenses.

For more information on how to report and the official requirement, please see OMB Memo M 20-26 at the following website: facweb.census.gov

This information does not include Food Banks. TDA continues to process CARES and FFCRA submitted claims for Food Banks.

Updated 8/21/2020
A federal court ruling earlier this year has reversed several NSLP/SBP meal pattern flexibilities. As a result the following meal pattern changes are effective immediately. Click this link for more information.

Additional Resources and Guidance


Modifying School Spaces During Mealtimes to Reduce Spread of COVID-19

Safely Distributing School Meals During COVID-19


USDA Food and Nutrition Service Program Guidance on Human Pandemic Response
 - Find out more about specific program flexibilities for federal nutrition programs.

School Nutrition Association Emergency Planning Resources - SNA will continue to seek the most up-to-date information about the virus and provide it to members as appropriate. 

Texas Department of State Health Services - Information for communities and other specific groups on how to prepare and take action for COVID-19.

Texas Education Agency - Support and guidance page provides information about school closures, a recap of the superintendents' call and other resources.

Department of Homeland Security

Need Assistance? Contact Us


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 pages to the left, please contact 877-TEX MEAL or email squaremeals@texasagriculture.gov for assistance.

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: How to File a Complaint, 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
Fax: (202) 690-7442; or
 
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
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Texas Department of Agriculture

Commissioner Sid Miller

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