Public Notice - Child and Adult Care Meal Service During Novel Coronavirus Outbreaks Waiver Request

Friday, March 13, 2020 | 02:07pm

1.      State agency submitting waiver request and responsible State agency staff contact information: 


Tennessee Department of Human Services
Allette Vayda, Director of Operations- Food Programs
James K. Polk Building, 15th Floor
505 Deaderick Street, Nashville, TN 37243

2.      Region:

South East Region

3.      Eligible service providers participating in waiver and affirmation that they are in good standing:

This waiver request applies to all Child and Adult Care (CACFP) organizations approved to operate CACFP and are in good standing.

4.      Description of the challenge the State agency is seeking to solve, the goal of the waiver to improve services under the Program, and the expected outcomes if the waiver is granted. [Section 12(l)(2)(A)(iii) and 12(l)(2)(A)(iv) of the NSLA]:

Given the potential of community spread of COVID-19, social distancing may be necessary to mitigate the spread of the virus. TN DHS is requesting a waver to allow CACFP Sponsors to allow meals to be consumed off site if served at approved sites during closures related to COVID-19. The overall goal for the request is to maximize all options and increase the availability of meals served in the event of unanticipated school closures due to COVID-19. 

5.      Specific Program requirements to be waived (include statutory and regulatory citations). [Section 12(l)(2)(A)(i) of the NSLA]:

TN is requesting to waive program regulations at 7 CFR 226.2, which requires that children remain onsite while consuming meals. In order to support any social distancing requested by Federal, State or local authorities we are requesting that meals consumed off site be reimbursable.

6.      Detailed description of alternative procedures and anticipated impact on Program operations, including technology, State systems, and monitoring: 

TN DHS does not anticipate any required Program operational changes, including those affecting technology, State systems and monitoring.

TN DHS will require approved program Sponsors to submit a detailed plan outlining how they intend to serve, count, document and monitor any meals served in a non-congregate setting prior to implementation.

If the waiver is not approved, TN DHS will continue its normal process of ensuring meals are served in approved congregate settings at approved sites during unanticipated school closures.  However, If the waiver is not granted, there would be a reduction in the number of potential sites and meals served during unanticipated school closures due to COVID-19. 

TN DHS will continue to conduct program monitoring in accordance with 7 CFR 226.6(m) throughout the implementation period of the waiver.

7.      Description of any steps the State has taken to address regulatory barriers at the State level. [Section 12(l)(2)(A)(ii) of the NSLA]:

TN DHS is not anticipating any regulatory barriers at the State level.

8.      Anticipated challenges State or eligible service providers may face with the waiver implementation:

TN DHS will work with Sponsors to identify sites that are in areas that are easily accessible to low-income children.

TN DHS will also assist Sponsors with communicating with families when, where, and how students may receive meals during a school closure through social media, and press releases.

9.      Description of how the waiver will not increase the overall cost of the Program to the Federal Government. If there are anticipated increases, confirm that the costs will be paid from non-Federal funds. [Section 12(l)(1)(A)(iii) of the NSLA]:

The SA does not anticipate any this waiver increasing the overall cost of the Program to the Federal Government.

10.  Anticipated waiver implementation date and time period: 

Requested Start Date: upon approval

Requested End Date: June 20, 2020, or upon expiration of the federally declared public health emergency, whichever is earlier.

11.  Proposed monitoring and review procedures: 

TN DHS will follow the review procedures in accordance with 7 CFP 226.6(m). TN DHS will provide training and technical assistance to sponsors in need of additional guidance on allowing meals to be consumed off site.

TN DHS will ensure CACFP application procedures are in accordance with USDA regulations and ensure sponsors submit adequate documents to support site eligibility. Approved CACFP sites and meal times will be listed in the CACFP application system.

12.  Proposed reporting requirements (include type of data and due date(s) to FNS):

The SA will provide to FNS a list of all approved CACFP Sponsors and sites participating in the waiver by December 31st or as requested by FNS. The SA will provide to FNS the number of meal consumed off site and participating in the waiver by December 31st or as requested by FNS.