Superintendent's Memo #268-09

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

September 25, 2009

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Options for Continuing Meal Service to Students in the Event Schools are Closed for H1N1 Influenza

This memorandum outlines how schools may continue to provide reimbursable meals to low-income children during school closures related to the H1N1 influenza virus. Such closures would follow a declaration of a public health emergency under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act, and would prevent the service of congregate meals through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act authorizes the provision of meal service to children who are not in school during non-summer months due to an unanticipated school closure.

There are two options for claiming federal reimbursement for meals served during these school closures:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), using program waiver authority, is allowing the requirements for serving meals in a congregate setting to be waived for these H1N1-related school closures. This waiver is an effort to address concerns regarding the loss of school meals for low-income children, many of whom may not have access to other sources of food when schools are closed. All other provisions of the federal regulations for the SSO or the SFSP will remain the same. The SSO or the SFSP will generally operate as it does during the summer months, and all meals provided to children 18 and under will be reimbursed at the free School Meal Program rates for SSO or the SFSP rates for rural/self-prep or urban/vended meals.

Local school food authorities (SFA) that want to continue to provide reimbursable meals for children in schools closed due to the H1N1 virus must sign an addendum to their existing agreement with the State agency which administers the SSO or the SFSP, and must submit a waiver request for operating meals services during H1N1 school closures. The waiver request should include:

  1. Specific information about the closed school(s) for which meal service will be provided.
  2. The meals (breakfast, lunch and/or snack) that will be served.
  3. The method of meal distribution that will be used. Meal distribution methods must address how meals will be provided for off-site consumption and food safety related concerns.
  4. How meals will be counted to ensure the integrity of the claims submitted.

The waiver request form is attached as Attachment A. All waiver requests must be reviewed and approved by VDOE. Once approved, an Addendum to the Annual agreement to participate in the school nutrition programs will be sent along with guidance on how to modify the Annual Agreement in the SNPWeb system.

Additional guidance and Questions and Answers can be found at the following website address: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Governance/Policy-Memos/2009/SP_33-2009_os.pdf

If you have any questions, please contact Catherine Digilio-Grimes, director of school nutrition programs, at (804) 225-2074 or the school nutrition program specialist assigned to your division.

PIW/CDG/idl

Attachment:

a. H1N1 Modified Waiver (Word)