GREENACRES FOOD ALLERGY GUIDELINES
In an effort to reduce the risk of accidental exposure to food allergens in school we have taken steps to create a safe environment for students who are severely allergic to various food items or who experience food-intolerance. With the guidelines outlined below we hope to minimize the possibility of exposure to food allergens. The success of our efforts requires the cooperation of students, parents and our staff. We, therefore, ask that you carefully review and adhere to the plan.
- Please notify the school by contacting the school nurse to inform us of your child’s allergies/intolerances as soon as possible prior to the first day of attendance. Be specific when naming the foods or ingredients to be avoided.
- Do not send any nuts, or products containing nuts as snacks to be eaten in the classroom. We understand that nuts and nut products can be a source of high nutritional value, so children are permitted to bring nuts and nut products for lunch, to be eaten in the lunchroom only. We will request that children who eat peanut butter or nut products for lunch wash their hands with soap and water after eating.
- There are no nut free tables in the lunchroom. In lieu of nut free tables, children whose allergies are severe enough to require an epipen are asked to sit at the end of the grade level tables. This way the children will be more accessible. Of course, children who are eating nuts may not sit beside, across from, or in close proximity to a child who is allergic to nuts.
- Do not send any projects completed outside of school that involve the use of nuts, nut butter or peanut shells into the classroom. Classroom projects will exclude these items.
- A practice of “No Food Sharing” in school including during snack and lunch periods will be enforced.
- Birthdays will be celebrated with non-food practices. Please do not send cupcakes or other food items on birthdays as it is difficult to ensure allergy free products on an ongoing basis across the school year. Giving consideration to the safety of students, classroom teachers will inform families of the ways in which students will be honored on their birthdays.
- Students and staff are encouraged to wash hands before and after handling or consuming food.
- When necessary, Dr. Smajlaj, our school psychologist, will visit classrooms to read books and engage children in conversations that build a sense of awareness and responsibility. With this practice we hope to cultivate behaviors that reinforce safety, and students’ ability to advocate for their personal needs while also respecting the needs of others.
- Holidays such as Halloween and Valentine’s Day are celebrated without candy or other food items. In cases where foods may be part of a special activity in classrooms, our practice is to inform parents to receive any necessary clearance. These exceptions include:
- First grade holiday activity where parents and their children collaborate to make gingerbread houses.
- Curriculum related or PTA sponsored events.
- The Veggiecation farm to table program
- At school-wide events such as Heritage Night where donated food items are consumed, ingredients should be clearly marked. Foods containing nuts are not allowed. With the wide range of food allergens, it is important families closely supervise their own children to ensure that safe choices are made.