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Coronavirus/COVID-19

School Meals

Where are meals being served?

I received a P-EBT Card in the mail recently, what is P-EBT?

The Pandemic — Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) Program is additional money for families to buy food while schools are closed due to COVID-19. Families with children who receive free or reduced-price school meals under the National School Lunch Program will receive P-EBT funds.

  • Families will get $5.70 per child per day for every day school is closed
  • Using P-EBT does not impact you or your child's immigration status. The public charge rule does not apply to P-EBT benefits
  • Use P-EBT with grab and go student meal sites

Find more information about P-EBT and how to use your benefits.

Can my district offer meals during the school closure?

  • Yes, any district can apply to serve meals. Federal reimbursement can be provided for reimbursable meal served at all approved meal sites. Districts should select meal service locations that target benefits to children in need, for example, children who may be newly eligible for benefits due to the economic impacts of COVID-19.

What does meal service look like when school is closed?

  • Approved sites can serve meals to any child under the age of 18 that presents for a meal.
  • Meals should be individually packaged and distributed in a grab and go format.
  • Meals should be consumed offsite to encourage social distancing. Sites may also distribute meals to a parent or guardian to take home to their children.
  • The maximum number of meals that may be offered are up to two meals or one meal and one snack, per child, per day, in any combination except lunch and supper.
  • Districts may apply for a distribution approach that includes meals for multiple days, including weekends.

How can I apply to serve meals?

Are there resources that I can give families who are experiencing food insecurity?

  • Counselors at Project Bread's FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333 are available to connect your community to food resources in their community as well as provide them with information about elder meals programs and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. The hotline will continue to operate Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and can provide information in 160 languages.
  • Non-congregate meal site information can be found through Project Bread's School Closure Meal Site Finder.

Are there resources available to School Nutrition Departments to provide guidance on serving meals?

What flexibilities are available to Districts serving meals during this time?

Below is a list of nationwide and state waivers to Child Nutrition Program regulations:

Date SubmittedWaiverDate EffectiveExpiration DatePrograms Impacted
8/12/2020Enrichment or Educational Requirement in the Afterschool Snack Service Waiver Request during School Year 2020-2021 Download Word DocumentPending-NSLP
CACFP
8/12/2020Potable Water Waiver Request during School Year 2020-2021 Download Word DocumentPending-NSLP
7/30/2020Request for Operation of SFSP During Unanticipated School Closures through 6/30/2021 Download Word DocumentPending-NSLP
SSO
SFSP
7/30/2020Request for Non-congregate meal service waiver through 6/30/2021 Download Word Document(superseded by Nationwide waiver)-NSLP
SSO
SFSP
7/30/2020Request for Parent/Guardian Meal Pick-up through 6/30/2021 Download Word Document(superseded by Nationwide waiver)-NSLP
SSO
SFSP
7/30/2020Request to Waive Meal Service Time Restrictions through 6/30/2021 Download Word Document(superseded by Nationwide waiver)-NSLP
SSO
SFSP
7/30/2020Request to Waive Area Eligibility through 6/30/2021 Download Word DocumentPending-NSLP
SSO
SFSP
6/8/2020Extension — Onsite Monitoring Requirements for Sponsoring Organizations in the Summer Food Service Program Download Word Document(superseded by Nationwide waiver)-SFSP
5/26/2020Extension — Onsite Monitoring Requirements for State Agencies in the Summer Food Service Program Download Word Document(superseded by Nationwide waiver)-SFSP
SSO
CACFP
5/15/2020MA waiver request expanding area eligibility during unanticipated school closures — Extension Download Word DocumentPending-SFSP
SSO
CACFP
4/7/2020
Updated 4/14/2020
Suspension of meal benefit applications for child care center operations in area eligible locations Download Word DocumentPending-CACFP
NationwideNationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements for State Agencies in the Summer Food Service Program3/27/20208/31/2020SFSP
NationwideNationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements for Sponsoring Organizations in the Summer Food Service Program3/27/20208/31/2020SFSP
NationwideNationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements in the School Meals Programs 3/27/20208/31/2020NSLP
SBP
NationwideNationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements for State Agencies in the Child and Adult Care Food Program3/27/20208/31/2020CACFP
NationwideNationwide Waiver of Monitoring Requirements for Sponsors in the Child and Adult Care Food Program3/27/20208/31/2020CACFP
NationwideNationwide Waiver of Community Eligibility Provision Deadlines in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs3/25/20208/31/2020NSLP
SBP
NationwideNationwide Waiver to Allow Parents and Guardians to Pick Up Meals for Children3/25/20208/31/2020SFSP
SSO
CACFP
NationwideNationwide Waiver to Allow Meal Pattern Flexibility in the Child Nutrition Programs3/25/20207/31/2020SFSP
SSO
CACFP
3/20/2020MA waiver to allow parents or guardians to pick up meals on behalf of their eligible students through June 30, 2020 Download Word Document(superseded by Nationwide waiver)-SFSP
SSO
NationwideNationwide Waiver of the Activity Requirement in Afterschool Care Child Nutrition Programs3/20/20206/30/2020SFSP
SSO
CACFP
NationwideNationwide Waiver to Allow Non-congregate Feeding in the Child Nutrition Programs3/20/20208/31/2020SFSP
SSO
CACFP
NationwideNationwide Waiver to Allow Meal Service Time Flexibility in the Child Nutrition Programs3/20/20208/31/2020SFSP
SSO
CACFP
3/20/2020
Updated 3/25/2020
MA waiver request expanding area eligibility during unanticipated school closures Download Word Document3/13/20206/30/2020SFSP
SSO
CACFP
3/13/2020SSO/SFSP Congregate Feeding for Sponsors Operating during COVID-19 Unanticipated School Closures Wavier Request Waiver of regulations at 7 CFR 225.6(e) (15) to allow non congregate feeding Download Word Document(superseded by Nationwide waiver)-SFSP
SSO
3/12/2020SSO/SFSP for Sponsors Operating During Unanticipated School Closures Wavier Request Waiver of regulations at 7 CFR 225.6(d)(1)(iv) to allow meals to be served at school sites Download Word Document3/13/20206/30/2020SFSP
SSO

If you have further questions about access to meals or ability to serve meal during this time please contact: Nutrition@doe.mass.edu.

Last Updated: August 11, 2020

Contact Us

Parents and guardians questions can be directed to COVID19K12ParentInfo@mass.gov

District and school staff's questions can be directed to: Reopeningk12@mass.gov

MTEL questions can be directed to TestHelp@doe.mass.edu

Questions related to educator licensure in Massachusetts, please call the Licensure Call Center: 781-338-6600, Hours: Monday-Friday 9am–1pm & 2pm–5pm.

Helene Bettencourt
Associate Commissioner
Phone: 781-338-3120

 
Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370

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