From the QRS Parent Handbook, here are the pieces that relate to food in the school:
Maintenance of a Nut-Controlled Environment
Like most school districts across the nation, we are experiencing a significant upsurge in the number of students reported to have life-threatening food allergies, which include a range of foods that pose a danger. Students with such allergies can suffer a severe reaction through ingestion or merely by touching or smelling the food.
Many medical organizations strongly suggest that schools implement procedures that are directed at supporting children with allergies, particularly at the elementary level. The most common food allergens cited in the research include milk, egg, soy, wheat, and nuts; however, there are many others. Years of experience have shown us that although we cannot guarantee a school absolutely free of allergens, we can take practical steps to control exposure to these foods or specific food byproducts. To do so successfully, we need your assistance.
Several Scarsdale schools have developed a food allergy preparedness plan that is based on best practices and procedures cited in the literature, and we have done the same at QRS. The plan, in part, necessitates your cooperation and asks that you:
- Do not send any nuts, or products containing peanuts, as snacks to be eaten in the classroom. We understand that nuts and nut products can be a source of high nutritional value for your child, and he or she will be permitted to eat such products in the lunchroom. We will request that children who eat peanut butter or nut products for lunch wash their hands with soap and water when they return from the cafeteria. Please note that our school cafeteria does not serve any peanut / tree nut products or byproducts.
- Do not send any projects that involve peanut butter (like bird feeders) or peanut shells (art projects) into the classroom that might have been completed outside of school. We will not be doing any classroom projects that contain these items.
- Be aware that children will be informed of a “No Food Sharing” practice during snack and lunch periods.
- To address the concerns of many families with students who are allergic, at school-wide events where donated foods will be consumed, we kindly request pre-packaged items that have no nuts or tree nuts, or are otherwise clearly labeled as containing potential allergens.
- We remind all participants that QRS is a nut-controlled environment. This requires that families supervise the foods their own child or children may consume at school community events to ensure a their choices are appropriate and safe.
Teachers in all grades, often with the assistance of Class Parents, celebrate national holidays with students. These include occasions such as Halloween, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day. These are all wonderful ways to build classroom community. As with other occasions, such as birthdays, we do not make food an integral part of these celebrations. Rather we encourage planned activities such as scavenger hunts, reading a favorite book, and crafts. For additional ideas on how to celebrate in the classroom, please see Non Food Ideas for Classroom Celebrations.
The only time you can expect food to appear in the classroom is during snack time or if it is connected to the curriculum, such as at the fourth-grade Colonial Day, in the fifth-grade Immigration Unit of Study, and during early grades’ gardening activities.