School Guidelines for Managing Students with Food Allergies
Food allergies can be life threatening. The risk of accidental exposure to foods can be reduced in the school setting if schools work with students, parents, and physicians to minimize risks and provide a safe educational environment for food-allergic students.
- Notify the school of the child’s allergies.
- Work with the school team to develop a plan that accommodates the child’s needs throughout the school including in the classroom, in the cafeteria, in after-care programs, during school-sponsored activities, and on the school bus, as well as a Food Allergy Action Plan.
- Provide written medical documentation, instructions, and medications as directed by a physician, using the Food Allergy Action Plan as a guide. Include a photo of the child on written form.
- Educate the child in the self-management of their food allergy including:
* safe and unsafe foods
* strategies for avoiding exposure to unsafe foods
* symptoms of allergic reactions
* how and when to tell an adult they may be having an allergy-related problem
* how to read food labels (age appropriate)
· Provide emergency contact information.
- Be knowledgeable about and follow applicable federal laws including ADA, IDEA, Section 504, and FERPA and any state laws or district policies that apply.
- Review the health records submitted by parents and physicians.
- Include food-allergic students in school activities. Students should not be excluded from school activities solely based on their food allergy.
- Assure that all staff who interact with the student on a regular basis understands food allergy, can recognize symptoms, knows what to do in an emergency, and works with other school staff to eliminate the use of food allergens in the allergic student’s meals, educational tools, arts and crafts projects, or incentives.
- Practice the Food Allergy Action Plans before an allergic reaction occurs to assure the efficiency/effectiveness of the plans.
- Designate school personnel who are properly trained to administer medications in accordance with the State Nursing and Good Samaritan Laws governing the administration of emergency medications.
- Be prepared to handle a reaction and ensure that there is a staff member available who is properly trained to administer medications during the school day regardless of time or location.
- Work with the district transportation administrator to assure that school bus driver training includes symptom awareness and what to do if a reaction occurs.
- Discuss field trips with the family of the food-allergic child to decide appropriate strategies for managing the food allergy.
- Follow federal/state/district laws and regulations regarding sharing medical information about the student.
- Take threats or harassment against an allergic child seriously.
- Group Education: The program elements include The School Food Allergy Program training for children adapted to local needs. The program consists of one 40 minute session. Small groups of children will learn new management skills. The session topics include basic information about food allergies, how to recognize and respond to symptoms, using medication and deciding when to seek help, how to keep physically active, identifying and controlling triggers to minimize symptoms and handing problems related to food allergies and school. The curriculum incorporates an interactive teaching approach using group discussions, stories, games and role-play to promote children’s active involvement in the learning process. The program focuses on the child’s independent actions as self-managers, emphasizing the child’s responsibility for recognizing symptoms and avoiding allergens and initiation of a plan on action.
- Supportive Relationships: Children without food allergies learn to develop empathy for children with food allergies and enhanced their understanding of food allergies. Children with food allergies are asked to work on intervention homework assignments with their parents. Parents are invited to a question and answer session. School principals and counselor are oriented to control strategies.
· Individual Education: Tailored food allergy action plans are developed for each child.
- Should not trade food with others.
- Should not eat anything with unknown ingredients or known to contain any allergen.
- Should be proactive in the care and management of their food allergies and reactions based on their developmental level.
- Should notify an adult immediately if they eat something they believe may contain the food to which they are allergic.