P.O. BOX 2120



October 27, 2006



Division Superintendents



Billy K. Cannaday, Jr.

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Requirements for Lunch Periods in Schools Participating in the National School Lunch Program


Federal regulations (7CFR 210.10(f)(1)) state that schools participating in the National School Lunch Program must offer lunches between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. All schools participating in this United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) program must comply with these regulations. School divisions may request an exemption from this required time period only when special circumstances exist. The Department of Education must evaluate the circumstances of each exemption request and determine if the request meets one of the following two standards established by USDA:


         Standard 1: State agencies may grant reasonable variances from the meal service requirements to accommodate special circumstances encountered in schools operating for traditional students at traditional times. For example, if a school has a legitimate need to extend the lunch service hours to 2:30 p.m. due to capacity concerns or because of extended school hours, such an exception would be a special circumstance.


         Standard 2: State agencies may grant exemptions from the meal service requirements if the school in question operates for traditional students, but at a nontraditional time. Exemptions will be granted contingent upon the understanding that (a) these alternative programs provide students of high school grade or under an opportunity to obtain the minimum requirements needed for graduation at a nontraditional time, and (b) it is not possible to serve lunch at a more traditional time. For example, some work-study programs allow high school students to work in the morning or afternoon hours and attend high school classes in the late afternoon.


School divisions must submit an exemption request to the Department of Education when it is determined that special circumstances exist which necessitate an exemption to the required lunch time periods for school(s) under their jurisdiction. All requests for exemptions must include: 1) name of school division, 2) name(s) of the school(s), 3)a description of each schools special circumstances requiring lunch service outside the required 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. time period, 4) the proposed time schedule for lunch service, and 5) the prospective ending date for the special circumstances which required the exemption. Exemption requests must be submitted by the division superintendent to Lynne Fellin, acting director of school nutrition programs.


Questions may be addressed to the school nutrition program specialist assigned to the division, or to Lynne Fellin, acting director, at (804) 225-2074/2082.