Guidelines for Managing Students with Food Allergies

Schools are public buildings and cannot be allergen free. The following guidelines are to be followed to provide a safe learning environment for students with severe food allergies.

School Nurse Responsibilities

  • To work with parents, health care providers and school staff to develop the student’s Individualized Health Plan (IHP) and Emergency Health Plan (EHP) and to update these plans yearly and more often as needed.
  • To instruct staff, who interact with the student on a regular basis, in the dynamics of the student’s food allergy, to recognize symptoms of a reaction and to know what to do in an emergency.
  • To train designated staff in the EHP. This could include training in giving emergency medications and/or administering the epinephrine auto-injector.
  • To make educational information available to staff, students and the community when requested.
  • To reinforce self-management of students in dealing with their food allergies.

School Responsibilities

  • To be knowledgeable about and follow applicable federal laws including American Disabilities Act (ADA), Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and any state laws or district policies that apply.
  • To work to eliminate the use of the food allergens in the allergic student’s meals, educational tools, arts and crafts projects and classroom incentives. In some cases, to work to eliminate the specific food allergens from the school cafeteria, vending machines and other food products given to students or sold at school.
  • To insure that students with food allergies are not excluded from school activities based solely on their food allergies.
  • To send advance notification to the parents and the school nurse of any school activities off school property (i.e. field trips) that the allergic student will be attending.
  • To insure that there is an adequate number of staff members designated and trained to implement the EHP and administer emergency medications, possibly including the epinephrine auto injector. To also insure that a trained staff member accompanies the student on any school activities that are off school property.
  • To keep emergency medications in a secure location that is easily accessible to designated school personnel.

Family Responsibilities

  • To provide the school nurse with all necessary documentation from the student’s healthcare provider.
  • To provide emergency medications and supplies as ordered by the healthcare provider.
  • To work with the school nurse and school staff to develop and implement the IHP and EHP.
  • To provide the school with current contact information for use in an emergency.

Student Responsibilities

  • To never trade food or share utensils with other students.
  • To be aware of the signs and symptoms of a reaction to known allergens.
  • To notify an adult immediately if he/she has eaten something that may contain the known allergen.
  • To participate in the development of his/her IHP and EHP, including signing and complying with the epinephrine auto injector contract, if indicated.

The school cannot be responsible for food brought to the school by other students and/or parents. Therefore, letters may be sent at various times throughout the school year (as determined by the principal and school nurse), to the parents of other students in the classroom to inform them a student in the classroom has a food allergy and to please avoid sending food items that may contain the known food allergen.