Arizona Department of Education (ADE) continues to send questions regularly to USDA in an effort to clarify programmatic guidance related to COVID-19 not yet released in formal memorandums. ADE has received clarification that once school starts, the School Food Authority (SFA) must make the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) available during all academic schools days to all enrolled students in attendance, whether in-person or virtually.

Please review the Q&A below for additional guidance on ensuring access to NSLP:

Q1: If distance learning begins while in-person instruction is delayed, can the SFA choose to delay serving NSLP meals until students return to in-person instruction?

A1: No. If it is an academic school day and the child was in attendance, whether in-person or virtually, the SFA must provide access to the meal.
Q2: If a district is offering a hybrid schedule where sites will hold classes virtually one day a week (with no children reporting to any school campus on that day), and then have all students present the remaining days in-person, would the SFA still be expected (and/or required) to make meals available to the students on the virtual learning day, each week (since it is an academic school day)? 
A2 : If it is an academic school day and the child was in attendance, whether in person or virtually, the SFA must provide access to a meal. Therefore it is expected that schools participating in the NSLP provide access to all eligible enrolled students attending school.  
Q3. If a brick and mortar (B&M) school site is offering the option for their students to either choose distance learning or attend in-person instruction, or a hybrid, would the SFA still be expected (and/or required) to make meals available to both the distance learning students, as well as the students attending classes in-person?

A3. Yes. Enrolled students opting for distance learning should also have access to meals. In this scenario, the SFA will need to determine how they will offer meals to both in-person and virtual learners.
Q4. If a student in our district chooses the option for distance learning only, the student will be enrolled in the district’s Arizona Online Instruction (AOI) school (a non-B&M school) which has never been eligible to participate in NSLP. Will the SFA still need to make a meal available for this student?

A4. ADE has sent this question to USDA.
Q5: A school district is opening for distance learning on August 3rd. Parents have the option of having their child attend the distance learning program or to delay their child’s learning until the actual school building opens on August 17th. Can those students that elect to not attend distance learning, still receive a NSLP meal beginning August 3rd?

A5 : No. Once the school has transitioned to serving NSLP/SBP, only students enrolled and who are attending classes (virtually, in person, or hybrid schedule) may participate in NSLP/SBP based on eligibility.
The COVID-19 Resource Page is updated daily as new information comes in. ADE recommends that you frequently review the webpage to answer your operation questions.
Stay tuned for more details and communication from ADE!
Arizona Dept of Education | School Nutrition Programs |