Edgewood Food Management and Allergy Guidelines
Students come to school with diverse health conditions that can be life-threatening and have a significant impact on their education and well-being. According the Center for Disease Control study in 2013, food allergies in children have increased by 50 percent from 1997 to 2011. Similarly, there has been an increase in the number of students in our school and across our district. In an effort to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all students, district guidelines were developed as part of our food management and food allergy prevention plan.
District Guiding Principles for School-Based Allergy Protocols
- Scarsdale is a welcoming and accepting environment for all children regardless of allergies.
- Reasonable environmental changes must be made over and above our standard allergy practices when particular students require it in order to be safe.
- The District recognizes the increasing awareness and sensitivity to food allergies and will work to minimize non-curricular food, including the regular use of food for celebratory activities.
- District Schools will institute procedures to reduce exposure to high-incidence food allergens as is appropriate for their facilities.
- The District believes that food can be beneficial and educational when thoughtfully used in a school setting and encourages teachers and administrators to support programs that provide educational benefits through the use of food.
- Yearly case reviews will take place for all students with allergy plans in each school.
Building Guidelines for Food Allergy Prevention
These building guidelines were developed in consultation with our district pediatrician, administration, school nurse, building faculty, and PTA representatives:
- As in previous years, families of students with health conditions such as food allergies should report them to the school nurse at the beginning of the year. These conditions will be recorded and the information will be shared with school faculty. If a child has a condition or develops one during the school year, parents should contact both the school nurse and the child’s teacher to inform them as soon as possible.
- There is no sharing of food by students permitted at any time.
- There will be no food given as a reward for students learning or behavior.
- Classroom rosters with health conditions will be made available for substitute teachers and for faculty where students eat food.
For the classroom:
- Morning snack is permitted in the classroom. However, food that contains nuts are NOT allowed in the classroom.
- There will be no food involved with birthday celebrations in the classroom. The rationale and alternative suggestions to celebrate student birthdays in the classroom can be found here.
- Food in the classroom IS permitted if it is connected to curriculum, study of culture, integral to the learning experience or for special celebrations. In those instances, food containing nuts are still not allowed and the food should be coordinated through the class parents of the classroom (not coordinated through individual children and their families). The teacher will provide the list of allergies and/or food concerns (no names of students) to the class parents so they can provide alternative food for those students. Parents will be notified ahead of time when food will be presented to students in these instances.
For the lunchroom:
- Students are allowed to bring items containing nuts but are discouraged from doing so.
- While we do not designate nut-free tables in the lunchroom, students with severe allergies will be monitored and if necessary, seating arrangements for any student will be changed temporarily so that students with allergies do not come into contact with food allergens. If we need to move any student, we generally ask the student to select friends to join them at an alternate table.
For school events (ex. the Multicultural tasting, Colonial Fair, etc.):
- Ingredients and dishes will be reviewed by the school nurse and/or building administration to determine which dishes contain allergens to students.
- The list of dishes at the event with allergens will be communicated to the classroom teacher and whenever possible, listed at the event so students can begin to develop awareness of food ingredients and move towards independently monitoring their intake as they move to the middle school.
- A communication will be sent to parents reminding them that food will be served at the event and that parents have the choice to opt-out of the event. Students who opt out of school events will spend time in an alternate location (ex. the nurse’s office, library, etc.) during the event.
- Food alternatives that are free from known student allergies will be provided whenever possible.
Please note that the severity of food allergies vary from year to year based on student needs and we aim to provide the least restrictive environment for all students. These guidelines in the school’s food management plan will be reevaluated on a regular basis and subject to change based on student/school needs.