• Fox Meadow Food Allergy Guidelines

     

    In the ongoing efforts to promote health and wellness in every aspect of school life, Fox Meadow's faculty has recently revisited the role of food in school. We believe food has a place in our curriculum and our teachers ensure that when food is used from the garden and for pie and soup making that all the ingredients are sourced safely. Our teachers will notify parents of children with food allergies of all ingredients in these foods. For events such as the Multicultural Fair and Colonial Feast, the organising committees work diligently to ensure every child is able to participate safely Meadow's nurse is actively updating this guidelines and new information will be posted shortly.
     
    At any given time,  we have around 70 children at Fox Meadow with food allergies or intolerances.  Of this population, 40 of these students have allergies that are life threatening. As you may know food allergies are a major problem in this country with national statistics showing that 1 in 13 children has a food allergy. It is important to note that nation-wide, 25% of the severe and potentially life-threatening reactions reported in schools happened in cases in which children had no previous diagnosis of an allergy. A major health issue such as this one needs to be taken very seriously and it has always been our mission to make the safety and wellbeing of all our students our top priority.
     
    Some students have such a high sensitivity to the peanut/tree nut protein that even a trace amount of the allergen can result in an anaphylactic reaction. The most serious reaction being respiratory difficulties, blockage of the airways, which if not treated can lead to death.  Tree nuts include almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, pecans and walnuts.  At Fox Meadow, we also have children highly allergic to dairy, sesame and shellfish.
     
    Our goal is to reduce the risk of exposure to peanuts and tree nuts in the school building. Peanuts are the most common allergen associated with accidental exposure in part due to the stickiness of peanut butter. Nuts are full of natural oils that leave residues. While these residues can be removed with cleaning, it can be difficult to clean tables in the middle of lunch, for example, or for cleaning staff to clean oils off of tainted walls or door knobs during the day.
     
    • We actively discourage you from sending your child in with any product containing peanuts, tree nuts or nutella to lunch. Managing children without separating those eating peanut/nut products is problematic. We continuously audit the lunchrooms to assess the issue. We teach the children that any child eating peanut butter must inform the lunchroom aide so that their table can be thoroughly cleaned and to ensure they wash their hands immediately after lunch.

    • Our classrooms are nut free and we most grateful for your cooperation in this matter. We understand that nuts and nut products can be a source of high nutritional value for your child but we ask that you give your child these products at home. This measure helps enormously in keeping the nut allergic children safe. We continue to ask you not to send any projects into the classroom that contain peanut butter or nut products (like bird feeders).

    • All our teachers celebrate birthdays in ways that do not involve baked goods. This policy is in place as much for the general health of our children as for safety purposes. Our teachers are creative and fun in the ways they celebrate birthdays. Please save any birthday treats for home.

    • There will be no baked goods (store bought or homemade) at end of year parties or special celebrations. Any items brought in error such as doughnuts, munchkins, cookies or cupcakes will be sent to the faculty room.

    • Halloween, Valentine’s Day and other holidays are celebrated without candy. This is for the general health of all our students.

    • Our “No food sharing” practice during snack and lunch is another established way that ensures safety in the school. Please remind your children about this.

     

    We trust that you understand how deeply important it is to respect and adhere to these guidelines. Please ensure whoever packs your child’s food is aware of our guidelines. We realize this request may require added planning and effort on your part when packing your child’s lunch and snacks and we wish to express our sincere appreciation for your support and cooperation. If throughout the course of the year you have any questions or concerns about food allergy related issues, please do not hesitate to contact the school nurse at ccronin@scarsdaleschools.org.

     

    For suggestions on nut free snacks, please refer to our recommendation list.

     

    I wish you and your family a safe and healthy school year.

     

    Cliona Cronin 
    School Nurse