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August 6, 2020
National School Lunch Program Summer Meals Program
Program Spotlight

Visit the back-to-school planning webpage 

View the newly created back-to-school planning webpage for school nutrition guidance and resources related to the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 school year. Find guidance on applicable school food service waivers, program operations and more. 

Submit specific questions related to back-to-school operations through the back-to-school question form and reference the back-to-school FAQs frequently.   

Program Updates

Local school food purchasing program changes

Due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colorado legislature had to make changes to state competitive grant programs, including the Local School Food Purchasing Program. The 2020 School Finance Bill, H.B. 20-1418, has eliminated funding for the Local School Food Purchasing Program for the 2020-21 fiscal year. The 2021 legislative session will start in January. At that time, discussions for the 2021-22 fiscal year will begin, and the department will have a better idea of the potential for this grant program to be funded in future school years. 

For questions, contact Erin Opgenorth at or 720-822-1883.

Register for free and reduced-price meals 201 virtual training

Join the 201 virtual training session specific to school meal eligibility that will model the typical in-person training normally held during the summer. This training session is not applicable for Residential Child Care Institutions with all residential students, non-public sponsors operating Provision 2 in a non-base year, or public sponsors operating Community Eligibility Provision or Provision 2 in a non-base year. 

  • Free and Reduced 201: This training session will be 1 - 4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12, and is designed for experienced staff wanting to critically think through the intricate areas of the free and reduced-price school meal program. Learn more about this training and register.

Participants will receive professional standards training credit for attending. If you do not receive a confirmation email after registering, please work with your IT department to add to your safe sender's list. 

For questions, contact Free&

Nationwide onsite monitoring waiver extended

The USDA extended the nationwide onsite monitoring requirements waiver that waives the sponsor’s requirement to complete the on-site monitoring form for the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. Sponsors should continue to monitor all sites to the greatest extent possible (e.g. through a desk audit). This waiver remains in effect through June 30, 2021.

For questions, contact Kerri Link at or 720-660-5499.

Program Outreach and Partner Updates

Tune into FRAC webinar on expanding access to afterschool meals and snacks

The Food Research & Action Center invites child nutrition professionals and community sponsors to join its upcoming webinar to ensure access to nutritious meals:

For questions, contact Etienne Melcher Philbin at

Tune in to the No Kid Hungry back-to-school meal service webinar

No Kid Hungry is hosting a webinar on back-to-school meal service: Feeding Kids during the 2020-21 school year, Part 1 on Monday, Aug. 10. Register for this webinar and tune in to understand nationwide waivers, possible meal service models, and options for financial recovery.

For questions, contact

Summer Meals Program Updates

Pandemic-EBT application is now open 

The Colorado Department of Human Services and the Colorado Department of Education are pleased to announce the P-EBT application is open and can be accessed through late September. Action items include:  

  • Reviewing the application training 
  • Using the outreach toolkit to help promote and communicate with community members about P-EBT benefits, including how to apply. 
  • Registering for the rescheduled P-EBT sharing call from 2 - 3 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 13. 

For frequently asked questions visit the CDHS P-EBT webpage. For questions, email

Nationwide waivers extended

The U.S. Department of Agriculture extended two nationwide waivers for the Summer Food Service Program:

  • Meal pattern exemption waiver: This waiver allows SFSP sponsors to claim for reimbursement even if a meal does not meet all meal pattern requirements or include all meal components. Requests must be submitted to CDE’s School Nutrition Unit and must be targeted and justified based on plans to support access to meals while minimizing potential exposure to COVID-19. This waiver remains in effect through Monday, Aug. 31.
  • Onsite monitoring requirements waiver: This waives the requirement to conduct onsite monitoring of SFSP meal sites. Sponsors should continue to monitor all meal sites to the greatest extent possible (e.g. through a desk audit). This waiver remains in effect through Sept. 30, 2021.

For questions, contact Ashley Moen, or 303-868-7192.

Copyright © 2020 Colorado Department of Education, All rights reserved.

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