Below are the Question and Answers from the COVID-19 conference call on April 1, 2020 with school districts with the Office of Child Nutrition Food and Distribution office.
Q: Will the webinar be made available? Will the Q and A be made available?
A: The webinar and Q and A is available on the NDDPI website.
Q: Where do I find the training certificate, site review form, meal component waiver request, and or monitoring waiver request?
A: All documents needed for the Emergency Summer Food Service Program during school closures are located on our website.
Q: Do we need to provide meals on days that the school did not plan on being in session? Examples: Good Friday and Easter Monday.
A: This is left up to the district to decide if they will provide meals on those days. If meals are provided on those days, those meals may be claimed for reimbursement. Meals will not allowed on Saturday and Sunday.
Q: What if we served more meals than we originally planned for and the number that we submitted in our original plan is less.
A: Please email the Melissa Anderson or Scott Egge in the Office of Child Nutrition and Food Distribution with any meal count changes to your plan. You do not need to submit a new plan for meal count changes. New plans must be submitted only if your school district is adding additional sites.
Q: How are we notified of approval of our Unanticipated School Closure Meal Distribution Plan?
A: All plans that were submitted were approved.
Q: Are we responsible for providing meals past our scheduled last day of school in May?
A: No, you do not need to continue providing meals unless there is a need in your community and the school determines that they are able to continue the meal services. Survey parents and staff to determine a need to continue.
Q: Do all cooks need training and certifications or just 1 person per site?
A: All staff and volunteers who work with the emergency SFSP must take the training. Training certificates must reflect all that completed the training. However, only one person per sponsor is required to complete the training and submit a training certificate to CNFD. All other training certificates will remain on file at the sponsor.
Q: Can someone pick up a meal for another person if we have them sign the sheet?
A: Yes, parents may give permission to pick up meals for their children.
Q: In accounting for program, should a separate fund be set up for SFSP? Do we have to pay invoices from a different set of account codes from regular school year?
A: That is up to the district. However, when reviewing financial documents as part of the review, we will assume that all invoices after March 16 will be for the Emergency SFSP program.
Q: If suppliers do not have products needed can we order from non-coop suppliers?
A: Yes, please spread the wealth.
Q: What if I am having trouble purchasing or storing all the meal components that are required to serve breakfast and/or lunch during the school closures?
A: It is very important that schools contact our office with any issues or struggles they may have to comply with the SFSP meal pattern and the required components. Milk has been a common component that schools are struggling to purchase and to store. Especially if they are providing an entire week of meals. USDA approved a waiver to allow sponsors to serve meals that do not meet the meal pattern requirements when providing meals for the SFSP during a school closure. The waiver request form is available on the SFSP web page. NDDPI must approve use of this waiver on a case-by-case basis. Waivers are not intended to cover entire time while schools are closed.
Once completed submit meal pattern waivers to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Can you submit transportation costs for reimbursement?
A: Transportation costs are an allowable expense and could be covered by the reimbursement you receive from the meals you are serving. There is no additional reimbursement for transportation however transportation money received this year for the General fund can be used. Contact Adam Tescher from NDDPI with any questions regarding transportation funding.
Q: Can we claim meals in ND Foods through March 17 since we were last in school March 13 but began free meals on March 16?
A: Schools will submit a claim for NSLP meals through March 13. Area eligible SFSP sponsors may include meals for the SFSP starting March
Q: Non-eligible SFSP sponsors may include meals for the SFSP starting March 18. If we did not take part in the SFSP last year (only take part in it for COVID-19), what date were we considered eligible? We started feeding kids on March 17th. Can we count the 17th in our April claim?
A: Area eligible SFSP sponsors may include meals for the SFSP starting March 16.Non-eligible SFSP sponsors may include meals for the SFSP starting March 18.
Q: Do we need to follow vegetable subgroup requirements such as ½ cup legume?
A: No vegetable subgroups are required for SFSP. In addition, no whole grains.
Q: We have a daycare that is not licensed and does not get reimbursement through the state, can they get meals?
A: Work with each daycare individually to determine that they are not already claiming meals under the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
Q: Do we need to keep copies of the written consent if we are delivering meals? Some parents called into the office and requested meals delivered.
A: Written consent can simply be a list of the parents, who were contacted or who contacted the school, to receive home delivered meals for their children. You could also list the date they were called or when they contacted the school.
Q: Can meals be delivered to open enrolled students if their resident district is offering meals? Can we provide meals to students that are open enrolled from another district if that home district is sponsoring this program?
A: The SFSP is a community-based program. Schools should be providing meals to kids in their community. If you have open enrolled students that are not located in your town or city you may provide them meals only if their resident community is not already providing meals to kids at this time. Schools in this situation should work with the schools in the surrounding communities to ensure that there is not dual participation.
Q: Food Safety: What if employees have been exposed to someone that has been confirmed?
A: ND Department of Health has guidance for the entire food service industry. In your kitchen, please try to use the social distancing as much as possible, keep things clean both while prepping meals and serving them, and finally not showing up at work when you are sick. Slide #27 and #28 have quick overview of the guidance from NDDoH. The foodservice industry is considered an essential service, therefore NDDoH said “If a food worker is confirmed to have COVID-19, school administrators/nutrition providers should inform co-workers of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality.
Develop emergency plans regarding the school’s response to increased absenteeism of staff, changes to operations and meal services Consider resources that will be necessary to keep essential business operations functioning, and how to communicate with team members and volunteers.” We suggest that schools look at training more staff to help with preparation and service. Also look at collaborating with neighboring districts that can provide meal service.
Q: Do heating instructions need to be attached to the package or bag?
A: Yes, you should have a document that explains heating for food safety reasons. This covers the school district if the food isn’t prepared properly.
Q: Any requirements for addressing individual allergies, or alternates based on IEP/504 accommodations?
A: Yes, if a school has on file a Medical Statement for Special meals signed by a recognized medical authority or the IEP/504 specifically mentions adaptations to meals, then the meal service should work with parents to accommodate the allergies/alternates. School districts can choose whether they want to accommodate other meal requests.
Q: Is this P-EBT in addition to the District serving SFSP breakfast/lunch?
A: This is in addition to any meals received under SFSP.
Q: Where do we get CEU Credit certificate?
A: Please use the Training certificate available on the COVID-19 Child Nutrition website to document your hours in this program.
Q: Should we be applying for our regular Summer food program with a start date after this June 30th date?
A: At this time, please apply or renew your regular SFSP program with a start date of at least one day after your scheduled last day of school. USDA has not provided us with any guidance on how to transition from the emergency SFSP program to the regular program so we are currently assuming that all emergency SFSP operations will cease on the last day of school and regular SFSP operations will resume for those sponsors who are normally eligible for the SFSP. We will provide more guidance on the transition as we receive it from USDA.
Q: Daycare providers do not fit the definition of a parent or guardian. Do parents need to provide some type of ID to pick up a lunch?
- Schools can allow families to sign up for meals (daily, bi-weekly, weekly, etc.) but must include the number of children in the household ages 1-18. Schools may also send out surveys to obtain the need for grab and go or home delivered meals in their community. Home delivered meals are optional.
- Only a parent or guardian of a child will be allowed to pick up for a child in their household. Optional: Schools may be more flexible in this situation and allow for a non-household member to pick up meals for kids that are not present, with permission from the parent or guardian.
- Schools may use an enrollment roster to assist staff in sharing households in their community with children.
Medium to Large Districts:
- A Student ID, Bus Tag, or valid lunch account number is an approved substitution for a child’s presence.
- A voucher may be used in place of a student ID, bus tag, or valid lunch account number if the child’s existence can be proven. Once existence is proven, the parent or guardian may use the voucher in place to represent the child when picking up meals.
- When at least one child is present or one approved substitution is present, meals will be provided for up to 3 additional children who are not present or for whom an approved substitution is not provided.
Q: What are site review forms?
A: Sponsors are required to conduct on-site reviews of each of their distribution sites during the first four weeks of operation during regular SFSP operations. North Dakota received a waiver to allow sponsors to conduct off-site desk audit reviews of each of their sites. Each sponsor must complete the SFSP Monitoring Waiver- Sponsor of Sites and submit to email@example.com.
Sponsors must conduct off-site reviews for all distribution sites where meal counts are being documented. Home delivery and bus route distributions can be consolidated into one site review where the actual distribution process is evaluated since it may lack some of the site requirements. The review form is also available on the SFSP website All site review documents must be kept on file at the sponsor.
Q: What if employees have been exposed to someone that has been confirmed?
A: For questions related to COVID-19, call the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) hotline at 1-866-207-2880 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. 7-days a week. Individuals who need medical advice should contact their health care provider.