Latest Coronavirus Updates
Coronavirus Updates for Contracting Entities

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.
Supply Chain Assistance Funds TDA is distributing newly available Supply Chain Assistance (SCA) funds to eligible Contracting Entities (CEs) to be used exclusively to purchase unprocessed or minimally processed domestic food products in cases where CEs are experiencing supply chain disruptions.
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.
New Templates and Resources for SSO Operators in SY 2021-2022 TDA has developed new resources for SSO operators in 2021-2022, including new media release templates, household letters for SSO operators processing applications, eligibility notification letters, and Direct Certification eligibility letters.
CE Compliance Profile
The information in this resource is intended to provide CEs with a summary of currently available waivers on record as being requested by the CE.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Summer 2022
Operations FAQ - COMING SOON!
School Year
2021-2022 FAQ
CACFP COVID-19
Operations FAQ

COVID-19 Waiver and Flexibility Requests


Updated 3/1/2022

Throughout the pandemic, the Texas Department of Agriculture has requested waivers from USDA to support the continued operation of meal service. Click here for all of the waivers submitted previously, and the status of each.


For a list of nationwide waivers,
click here.

Latest News


Updated 5/17/2022

USDA has provided an additional list of allowable waivers which states may request for Summer 2022 and School Year 2022-2023. TDA is thus requesting the discretion to implement the following waivers this summer and next school year:

  • Non-congregate feeding in cases of extreme heat/weather during Summer 2022
  • Waiver of Paid Lunch Equity Requirements for all School Food Authorities for School Year 2022-2023
  • Waiver of requirement that 30-day carryover eligibility be based on data from the prior school year

Updated 4/27/2022

Given that many nationwide waivers are set to expire in June or soon after the declared end of the Public Health Emergency, USDA has provided a list of allowable waivers which states may request for Summer 2022 and School Year 2022-2023. TDA is thus requesting the discretion to implement the following waivers this summer and next school year:

  • Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO)
      • Non-Congregate Meal Service during Summer 2022
      • Parent/Guardian Meal Pickup during Summer 2022
      • Onsite Review Requirements for SFSP Sponsors during Summer 2022
      • Requirement to review food service operations at each site at least once during the first four weeks of operation.
      • Onsite Review Requirements for State Agencies, including pre-approval visits
      • State Agency requirement to review every sponsor at least once every three years.
      • State Agency requirement to conduct reviews of at least 10 percent of each sponsor’s sites or one site, if that’s greater.
      • State Agency requirement to inspect FSMC facilities
  • National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP)
      • Non-Congregate Meal Service
      • Parent/Guardian Meal Pickup
      • Meal Service Times
      • Offer Versus Serve in Senior High Schools
  • School Year Administration
      • Extension of Local School Wellness Policy Triennial Assessment
      • Administrative Review Onsite Requirements for State Agencies
      • Onsite Requirement for School Food Authority Onsite Reviews by February 1
      • Onsite Requirement for NSLP Afterschool Care Program Reviews
      • Onsite Requirement for Periodic On-site Visits when Utilizing an FSMC
  • Reporting Requirements
      • Waiver of FNS-874: Second (Independent) Review of Applications
      • Waiver of FNS-640 Administrative Review Data Report
  • Special Milk Program (SMP):
      • Non-Congregate Milk Service
      • Parent/Guardian Milk Pickup
  • Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP)
      • Parent/Guardian FFVP Pickup
  • Unanticipated School Closure
      • Non-Congregate Meal Service during Unanticipated School Closures in SY 2022-23
      • Parent and Guardian Meal Pick-Up during Unanticipated School Closures (SSO)
      • Meal Service Times for Unanticipated School Closures in SY 2022-23
      • Meals at School Sites for Unanticipated School Closures in SY 2022-23
  • Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
      • Non-Congregate Meal Service
      • Parent/Guardian Meal Pick-Up
      • Meal Service Times
      • State Agency Onsite Monitoring Visits
      • Sponsoring Organization Onsite Monitoring Visits

Note that if approved, these waivers are only expected to be used in cases where COVID-19 has affected operations; they are not meant to be used as part of standard operations throughout the Program Year. TDA is developing an implementation strategy and new request process for Summer 2022 and School Year 2022-2023 to outline how waiver usage will differ moving forward. Please routinely check SquareMeals.org for news and updated FAQs. TDA will continue to offer guidance on statewide calls.


Updated 2/4/2022

In school year 2021-2022, many schools have been experiencing unprecedented challenges in purchasing and receiving food through their normal distribution channels. TDA is distributing additional Supply Chain Assistance (SCA) funds to eligible Contracting Entities (CEs) to be used exclusively to purchase unprocessed or minimally processed domestic food products in cases where CEs have experienced supply chain disruptions.

Eligible CEs include public, charter, and private nonprofit schools, and Resident Child Care Institutions (RCCIs), operating NSLP/SBP (including the NSLP Afterschool Snack Program and SSO). Specific information about eligibility, funding, calculated allotments per eligible CE, and required request forms are all available on the dedicated SCA Funding page. See Important Documentation above or Supply Chain Assistance Funds in the left menu for links to more information.


Updated 11/16/2021

USDA has issued guidance giving TDA the discretion to provide technical assistance in lieu of fiscal action for NSLP/SBP, SSO and CACFP CEs and sites that fail to meet meal pattern requirements due to COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions provided the CE, site, and/or provider can show good faith effort that every attempt was made to meet the requirements.

 

To assist CEs and sites in in these efforts, TDA has developed the Monthly Record of Meal Pattern Deviations Due to COVID-19 Supply Chain Disruptions Form, in which CEs can document instances during the COVID-19 pandemic when required food components were unavailable due to supply chain disruptions. Refer to the form instructions for more information about how this form is to be used.


Additional Resources and Guidance


Team Nutrition’s Back to School Resources


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, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at: https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/USDA-OASCR%20P-Complaint-Form-0508-0002-508-11-28-17Fax2Mail.pdf, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:

1. Mail:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
2. Fax: (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
 
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
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