Dear Parents, Faculty, and Staff,
A Food Allergy is an immune system response to a food that the body mistakenly believes is harmful. Once the immune system decides that a particular food is harmful, it creates specific antibodies to it. The next time the individual eats that food, the immune system releases massive amounts of chemicals, including histamine, in order to protect the body. These chemicals trigger a cascade of allergic symptoms that can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin and/or cardiovascular system. With each additional episode, the reactions can worsen. Avoidance is the only way to prevent an allergic reaction.
At Woodmont, our goal as educators is to promote quality learning in the safest and happiest environment possible. For our school to accomplish this, all students, parents, faculty and staff of Woodmont are to be aware what a food allergy is and follow Woodmont’s Food Allergy Guidelines. The Faculty and Staff will be in-serviced. In September, all classrooms will be given a lesson on food allergies. On the Woodmont Health Office website, all parents can read the articles written about food allergies.
The following are our Woodmont Allergy Guidelines:
1. Teachers at the beginning of the year are given the list of children’s food allergies in their class. If this list changes, the school nurse will inform the teacher verbally and by email. The teacher will document any changes on the class list and the class list in the substitute folder.
2. All specialists, if you are hosting a food celebration, you must check with the nurse two weeks before the event about any food celebration. All food offered must be pre-packaged and have visible food ingredient labels. The nurse will then check the ingredients, one week prior to the event.
3. The parents of any food allergy student will be told by the nurse that “a safe snack box” must be in the classroom by the second week of school.
4. There is no sharing of food, during any school hours. A child without a snack or lunch can come to the school nurse for food items. School hours also include the bus ride to and from school. No food is allowed to be eaten on the bus during field trips. Only water bottles are permitted.
5. At any food celebration, the teacher, nurse, or paraprofessional must be able to read an ingredient label for that food to be safely given to a food allergy student. The teachers will put in their substitute folder, that the nurse will read the food labels upon their absence.
6. If a food item is homemade, it cannot be eaten by a food allergy student unless a written note or email is sent to the teacher and/or nurse stating that the food allergy child’s parent checked with the parent preparing the food item and they have agreed the food is safe for his/her child to eat. Therefore, the child with the food allergy’s parent sends the written email or note. Parents, if you are offering a food item that the ingredients cannot be read, it would be helpful to also offer food that an allergy child can consume. An example is fruit or fruit ice pops. (Not processed in a faculty with nut products).
7. In any classroom at Woodmont, no foods will be stored by the staff that is accessible to a student. Teachers can always keep food safely stored in the faculty kitchen.
8. If a teacher would like to do a school project, which includes food, the idea must be presented to the nurse one month prior to the project. All food allergy parents in the class, will be made aware of how the child will be kept allergy safe.
9. All parents must be aware that the lunch program and any food fundraiser offered by the PTA is not checked for food allergies. Therefore, parents are responsible for checking if that food is safe for their child.
10. If the PTA would like to host a food event, please check out your idea, one month prior to the event, with the principal and the nurse. (The details will then be worked on.) Two weeks prior to the event, a written notice must go home with every child, stating what food will be offered. Only if a permission slip or money is brought in by that child will he/she be allowed to participate.
11. The only food celebrations in the classroom will be birthday parties, class parties, PTA fundraisers, and school projects that have been cleared by the nurse one month before. There is no longer class food rewards or random food celebrations. No food, including any candies, can be given to be taken home on the bus by any staff member.
12. All class party celebrations will take place from 8:30-10:30 or 12:30-2:30. In this way, the desks can by properly cleaned by the evening custodians. In the event of an AM party, the teacher must notify the office the time of the party so the day custodian has ample time to sanitize the desks properly prior to lunch/recess. Please note: All projects with food and birthday celebrations are limited to the 12:30-2:30 time slot.
It is important for the students, parents, faculty and staff of Woodmont to be fully aware of the circumstances surrounding the severity of food allergies so that the sound, nurturing, learning environment of Woodmont continues.
As always, if you have any questions about the above, please feel free to email or call me at any time.
Sincerely,Janice Shingledecker, RN