Superintendent's Memo #143-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

May 20, 2011

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Availability of Drinking Water During National School Lunch Program Meal Service

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (the Act), Public Law 111-296, establishes a requirement for making water available to students in schools participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). The purpose of this memorandum is to provide guidance on the implementation of this provision. Schools should begin implementation of this provision as soon as possible and not later than July 1, 2011.

Section 203 of the Act amends the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act by requiring participating schools to make potable water available to students at no charge in the place where lunch meals are served during meal service times. There are a variety of ways that schools may implement this requirement. For example, schools may offer water pitchers and cups on lunch tables or make available a water fountain or faucet that allows students to fill their own bottles or cups with drinking water. Regardless of the method used, the water must be available without restriction in the location where meals are served.

While potable water is required to be made available to students, it is not considered part of the reimbursable lunch meal and students are not required to take it. There is no additional school nutrition funding available for this provision and federal reimbursement for water may not be claimed. However, reasonable costs associated with providing potable water to students during meal service times would be an allowable cost to the nonprofit school nutrition account.

If there are questions or additional information is required, contact the school nutrition program specialist assigned to your division or office of school nutrition programs staff at (804) 225-2074.