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Strategies & Tactics to Reach Kids with Meals During the COVID-19 Pandemic
girl eating lunch at home in her backyard

Do you need tips and ideas for safe and efficient non-congregate meal service?

Emerging Strategies & Tactics For Meal Service During School Closures Related To The Coronavirus offers ideas on how to get meals to kids affected by school closures. This resource highlights meal distribution strategies that schools and community organizations have already started putting into place across the country in response to widespread school closures due to the coronavirus. In addition to breaking down distribution plans into four main models -- drive thru or curbside distribution, walk-up distribution, mobile or bus route delivery, and direct home delivery -- it also includes guidance and ideas for staffing, staff safety, planning for emergencies, meal preparation, menus and meal options, distribution logistics, communication, and partnerships. The resource page also includes a separate document with ideas and recommendations specifically tailored to child nutrition program state agencies.

For a shorter resource focused on how to keep your staff safe and healthy while ensuring continued meal service for kids and families, check out Emergency Planning and Staff Safety Tips.

The Educator's Guide to Emergency Meals helps educators understand what school meals look like now during prolonged school closures due to the coronavirus and identify ways that they can help ensure students are accessing the critical nutrition they need.

Always defer to guidance from the USDA or your state agency, and please consult with your state agency before implementing a new strategy in order to ensure compliance. If you have a staff member diagnosed with COVID-19, please work with local public health officials to determine the appropriate course of action given local guidelines.

Other Helpful Links:


Summer Meals
School Nutrition Employee Smiles While Preparing Food

Emergency Planning and Staff Safety Tips

This short resource will help you keep your staff healthy and plan for what happens if someone does get sick.

Implementation Support
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Comparison of Usual Summer and Afterschool Meal Requirements to Current COVID-19 Flexibilities
mobile meals site - square image

This chart breaks down how these programs usually work and the options currently available to help program operators adapt to the coronavirus.

The chart covers information on both the Summer Food Service Program & Seamless Summer Options as well as CACFP At-Risk Afterschool Meals, including:

  • The meals reimbursed by each program
  • Eligibile sites
  • Eligible participants
  • The congregate meal service requirement
  • Meal service time requirements
  • Allowable days of operation, including weekends, spring break, and other non-school days
  • Meal requirements
  • Claim submission deadlines
  • Record keeping requirements
  • Procurement
  • Site monitoring
  • Unanticipated school closures

This was updated on 7/1/20 to reflect recent waiver extensions, the expiration of the Unanticipated School Closure Extension waiver and ending of CACFP At-Risk Afterschool for the 2019-2020 school year, and other guidance.