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Seamless Summer Option

Seamless Summer Option

The Summer Seamless Option (SSO) combines features of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the School Breakfast Program (SBP), and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Traditionally, Seamless Summer Option is restricted to summer vacation periods and, for year-round schools, long school vacation periods for eligible school sites. NSLP meal patterns, program requirements, and reimbursement rates are followed.

Due to COVID-19, USDA has released a number of waivers effective for the entire school year 2021-22. In COVID–19: Child Nutrition Response #85, Seamless Summer Option (SSO) for SY 2021-2022 FNS is allowing SSO operations to continue when school is open during the regular school year, effective July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022 and may be used at any school, including RCCI's, regardless of its location or the type of SSO site it is operating. 

Once approved, Sponsors serve meals free of charge to children, age 18 years and under. All reimbursable meals served to eligible children are claimed at the free reimbursement rate.

ODE Kickoff Summer Meals Promotional Video

Visit the SNP training page to view available trainings on this topic.

Assigned Child Nutrition Specialist Sponsor List

Serving SSO in School Year 2021-2022

How it Works

School Food Authorities (SFAs) participating in the NSLP or SBP are eligible to apply for the Seamless Summer Option. Once approved through their governing state agency, SFAs serve meals free of charge to children, 18 years and under, from low-income areas. Due to COVID 19 waiver #85, all NSLP or SBP Sponsors are eligible to participate in SSO regardless of income area eligibility.

The types of sites allowed to participate in this option include: 

  • Open sites: all children eat free in communities.
  • Restricted open sites: sites that meet the open site criteria, explained above, but are later restricted for safety, control, or security reasons with state agency approval. The sponsor must publicize that the site is open on a first-come, first-served basis to all community children, but participation will be limited.
  • Closed enrolled sites: may be in any community for an enrolled group.
  • Migrant sites: serving children of migrant families.
  • Camps: residential or non-residential camps.

The same NSLP and SBP rules apply for meal service. Meals served are reimbursed at the SFSP rate.

Meal Pattern

Sponsors must follow the NSLP and SBP meal pattern when serving SSO meals. 

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) granted nationwide meal pattern waivers on March 9, 2021, COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #74, and on April 20, 2021, COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #90.  These waivers support access to nutritious meals while minimizing potential exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to School Food Authorities (SFAs) by supporting alternate meal service models and social distancing during school year 2021-22 while transitioning back to normal school meal program operations.  The waivers apply to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the School Breakfast Program (SBP), and the NSLP Seamless Summer Option (SSO).

Sponsors may utilize these flexibilities, only as needed during SY 2021-22, by completing the Oregon Meal Pattern Waiver Request Form (July 2021-June 2022), located on our ODE Oregon Child Nutrition Programs COVID-19 Response and Resources webpage, for State Agency review and approval on a case-by-case basis.  FNS expects and strongly encourages program operators to maintain and meet the nutrition standards for each program by meeting the meal pattern requirements to the greatest extent possible. 

Reimbursement Rates

As sponsors decide to operate under National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or SSO for SY 2021-2022, some important financial impacts should be taken into consideration.

In alignment with USDA's priorities to increase funding for program operators, COVID-19 waiver #86 is allowing school food authorities to claim SSO meals and snacks at the SFSP reimbursement rates and will provide additional funding to offset the costs associated with providing a safe meal service. USDA will reimburse all meals served under SSO during SY 2021-2022 at the single per meal Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) reimbursement rate.  This rate will be the highest combined reimbursement rate for self-operating and rural sites. The SFSP reimbursement rates are significantly higher than the NSLP Free reimbursement rates.

Sponsors who elect to operate NSLP will receive reimbursement rates in free, reduced and paid categories and will not be eligible to receive the higher SFSP reimbursement rate.

The per meal entitlement rate is the same for sponsors operating NSLP and SSO.

The following example illustrates the difference in reimbursement for a monthly claim for a sponsor operating traditional NSLP and SBP versus a sponsor operating SSO for SY 2021-2022.

Montlhy Claim Summary

Helpful Documents

For additional information or questions, contact the Oregon Department of Education Child Nutrition Programs by Email: ODE School Nutrition or Phone: 503-947-5894.

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