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June 11, 2020
Summer Meals Program and Emergency Feeding

Summer Meals Program Spotlight

Back-to-School: resources and opportunities

As June kicks off the summer break, many child nutrition program sponsors are wondering, "What's next? What school will look like for the 2020-21 school year—and what the impact will be on school meal operations?” Some school nutrition professionals are expecting it will be the most challenging year of their careers, as school administrators contemplate dramatic changes to reduce the risk of infection outbreaks until a COVID-19 vaccine or effective treatment is available.

CDE’s School Nutrition Unit and the School Nutrition Association (SNA) are working to support districts to plan for the unknown. SNA released a planning tool to help districts ask the right questions to prepare for the new normal.  

In addition, the school nutrition staff will facilitate conference calls the week of June 22 with program operators across Colorado to discuss preparing for the fall and brainstorm solutions for back-to-school challenges. Dates and times for calls will be scheduled and released soon. Please complete this online form to express interest in attending a back-to-school conference call. View the back-to-school section on the National School Lunch Program webpage for additional back-to-school resources. 

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

Summer Meals Program Updates

New Pandemic-EBT communication tools

Child nutrition program sponsors can use the Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer template toolkit to share important information about P-EBT benefits to families in your communities. Templates include: letter to households, robo-call sample language, text messages, grab-and-go stuffers and sample social media posts. Templates are available in English and Spanish. Use the outreach guide (PDF) to establish a communication timeline and reference the webinar PowerPoint slides on the School Meal Eligibility webpage for additional information.

Complete the P-EBT form by Friday, June 19, to inform the School Nutrition Unit of any pressing needs and to identify a local staff member overseeing P-EBT. For questions, contact

Claiming update in the Colorado Nutrition Portal

The claiming process in the Colorado Nutrition Portal was streamlined by the School Nutrition Unit to allow sponsors to submit sponsor-level claims throughout the summer for the Summer Food Service Program. The claiming module will be unavailable until the end of June due to this system change. Sponsors can submit claims through the Colorado Nutrition Portal after the system is updated.

For questions, contact

Summer Food Service Program reviews update

The School Nutrition Unit is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on flexibilities for SFSP reviews. The goal is to streamline reviews to reduce workload for SFSP sponsors. The School Nutrition Unit is required to review sponsors normally scheduled for a review this summer as well as new SFAs that operated the SFSP during unanticipated school closures. Additional details will be provided as soon as they become available.

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

Extension of nationwide COVID-19 waivers

USDA recently extended waivers related to SFSP operations during COVID-19:

  • COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response No. 30: Nationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements for Sponsoring Organizations in the Summer Food Service Program – EXTENSION through August 31.

  • COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response No. 31: Nationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements for State Agencies in the Summer Food Service Program – EXTENSION through August 31.

  • COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response No. 32: Nationwide Waiver to Extend Area Eligibility Waivers through August 31.

View all School Nutrition waivers here.

For specific questions, please contact

Outreach and Partner Updates

Attend the COVID-19 SNA webinar series

The School Nutrition Association invites members and non-members to join its free COVID-19 webinar series that provides timely information and resources concerning school nutrition and the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is an upcoming webinar:

For questions, contact or call 800-877-8822 and ask for professional development. 

Tune into webinar on school recycling programs in a COVID-19 world

Join the Center for Green Schools on Tuesday, June 16, to learn how to manage recycling and waste in classrooms. Hear case studies of K-12 schools that have successfully implemented sorting stations and recycling programs while feeding students in the classroom. 

For questions, contact Phoebe Beierle at

Summer Meals Program Resources

Apply for the summer meals grant opportunity 

Nourishing Neighbors, an initiative of the Albertsons Companies Foundation, is aimed at increasing participation in, and access to, the Summer Meals Programs this summer through a grant opportunity. Intermediary organizations, sponsors and schools are eligible to apply for funding. Applications are due by 12:59 a.m.Tuesday, June 22. Expenses eligible for funding can include but are not limited to: transportation, food purchasing, marketing and outreach, temporary hires, technical assistance and equipment. 

For questions, contact Christy Duncan at

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

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