Food Allergy Information

According to the website, Food Allergy Research and Education (link opens in a new window), more than 15% of school-aged children with food allergies have had an allergic reaction in schools. Lake Bluff Elementary School District 65 is committed to keeping all students safe in school and has developed procedures for the management of food allergies in the classroom.  Please contact a school nurse with any questions.

Food Allergy Management Procedures

As provided by Board Policy 7:285, District 65’s procedures for the management of students with food allergies are summarized as follows:

Identification of Students with Food Allergies

  • Parents/guardians are responsible for notifying the School Nurse or Building Principal of their child’s food allergies, completing an Allergy History form and any applicable form(s) regarding the student’s need for medication at school or school related function and providing the school with the student’s needed medication.  If the student has a prior or current IEP, Section 504 plan, Individual Health Care Plan (IHCP), and/or Emergency Action Plan (EAP), parent(s)/guardian(s) are strongly encouraged to provide a copy of the document to the school immediately.
 
  • The School Nurse or Building Principal will convene a meeting with appropriate school personnel and the student’s parent(s)/guardian(s) to assess the student’s allergy management needs in the school environment.
 
  • For a student who is not already identified as eligible for special education and related services under the IDEA or for accommodations under Section 504, the school will review all available information and determine whether a referral for an evaluation is warranted under IDEA or Section 504 pursuant to Board Policy 6:120, Education of Children with Disabilities.
 
  • For a student who is deemed to have a food allergy, school personnel and the parent(s)/guardian(s) will develop an IEP, Section 504 plan, or IHCP that includes: (a) procedures for reducing the student’s risk of exposure to food allergens; (b) identification of personnel and volunteers who need to be familiar with the student’s food allergies and plan; (c) identification of personnel and volunteers who are trained to administer an epinephrine auto-injector and if not a nurse, who volunteer to do so; (d) identification of the location(s) in which the epinephrine auto-injector will be stored; (e) a process for the School Nurse, non-certified registered nurse, or designee to monitor the epinephrine auto-injector; and (f) an emergency action plan (EAP) with procedures to be followed by school personnel if the student is or is suspected of being exposed to the food allergen and/or having an allergic reaction at school or school-related activities.
 
  • Parent(s)/guardian(s) are strongly encouraged to review with their child the responsibilities in managing his/her allergy and ensuring that their child understands his/her age-appropriate role.

Prevention of Students' Exposure to Known Food Allergens

  • The School Nurse, Building Principal, and/or other designated staff member will convene a meeting to educate all the staff who will implement the student’s IEP/Section 504 Plan/IHCP about their responsibilities.
  • Any additional staff training needed to implement the IEP/Section 504 Plan/IHCP will be determined and provided to the responsible staff members.
  • The School Nurse, Building Principal, or other designated staff member will monitor the implementation of the student’s IEP/Section 504 plan/IHCP.
  • The school will disseminate information to appropriate school personnel and volunteers about the student’s food allergy.
  • The school will disseminate information to parents/guardians and students about the student’s fool allergy while maintaining the confidentiality of the student’s information. The school may provide information through activities such as:
  1. Displaying food allergy posters (not identifying the specific student) outside classrooms and in specific allergen-free areas as reminders
  2. Sending letters, emails, or other communications to parents/guardians that;
  3. Provide notice that a student with life-threatening allergies is in their child’s class (not identifying the specific student unless parental permission is obtained);
  4. Request strict adherence to snack lists which are peanut/nut free and minimize other allergens and inform parents/guardians that they will be notified for any lapse in procedure;
  5. Provide snack lists with suggestions for alternate foods;
  6. Provide information about food labeling as it applies to the allergen in question; 
  7. Request that parents/guardians raise questions or concerns with the Building Principal, not the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the student with food allergies; and
  8. Share age-appropriate information with students about food allergies, anaphylaxis, avoidance measures, and being sensitive towards students with food allergies.

Students with food allergies are encouraged to wear Medic Alert bracelet or necklace that identifies specific allergens.

Avoidance Measures

The goal of implementing avoidance measures is to reduce risk of accidental exposure to allergens without unreasonably restricting the student from engaging in peer interactions and /or participating in activities in the school.

When determining appropriate avoidance measures, District 65 takes into consideration the child’s age, maturity, and social-emotional development; the organizational and physical environment in different schools; and the properties of the allergen. As the child matures, he/she will be expected to take increasing personal responsibility for avoiding the allergen.

In general, a student with allergies is expected to follow these measures:

  1. Do not trade or share foods, utensils and containers
  2. Wash hands or use hand wipes before and after eating
  3. Do not eat anything with unknown ingredients or ingredients known to contain an allergen
  4. Always read ingredients before eating food
  5. Eat at designated allergen-free areas
  6. Avoid sitting in areas where students are known to have foods that may contain the allergen
  7. Do not participate in general clean-up of cafeteria tables, garbage disposal and playground areas that might involve-contact with the allergen
  8. Do not share musical instruments, that are placed in the mouth, with other students
  9. Self-advocate with peers and staff in situations that may cause exposure to the allergen (e.g., asking a peer to move from an allergen-free area if the student has food that appears unsafe).

In general, all students are expected to follow the following measures:

  1. Do not trade or share foods, utensils, and/or containers
  2. Wash hands or use hand wipes before and after eating
  3. Respect allergen-free areas by keeping food that may contain the allergen away from the area
  4. Comply with requests from students and/or instructions from staff members to move food away that is believed to be potentially dangerous to a student with allergies
  5. Follow all school rules about keeping allergens out of the classroom.

District 65 implements procedures to minimize risk of students’ exposure to food allergens in classrooms, the cafeteria, and other areas of the school building. Procedures are also implemented to minimize exposure to food allergens during school-related activities including, but not limited to, field trips, transportation to/from school, and extracurricular activities.

School personnel may request that a student’s parent(s)/guardian(s) take particular actions to assist in minimizing the student’s risk of exposure, such as:

  • Provide consent for School Nurse and other school personnel to communicate and exchange information with the student’s physician.
  • Attend the student’s field trips, extracurricular activities, or other non-routine school events.
  • Carefully review notices/plans of school and school-related activities, assess the student’s risk in participating in an activity and, if the risk factors are too great, consider asking that the student not participate in the activity.
  • Provide more than one epinephrine auto-injector to the school for storage in multiple locations in the building
  • Carefully manage situations in which lunch or snacks are needed for the student at school or school related activities

All parents/guardians of District students are expected to work cooperatively with District 65 to minimize the risk of exposing a student with life-threatening allergies to the allergens. This may include, but is not limited to, ensuring that the allergens are not included in their child’s packed lunch, snacks, or foods brought into school for parties/celebrations.

Other Allergies

The procedures governing the management of food allergies also apply fully with respect to students with other types of allergies including, but not limited to, the development and implementation of an IEP, Section 504 plan, or IHCP. Specific avoidance measures will depend on the type of allergy.

Emergency Response Plan

Despite District 65’s efforts to minimize the risk of exposure, a student may come into contact with a life-threatening allergen while at school or school-related activities. District 65 has a School Emergency Response Plan with procedures for school personnel to prepare for and respond to anaphylaxis emergencies where the student is or is suspected of being exposed to the allergen and/or having an allergic reaction at school or school-related activities. A synopsis of the School Emergency Response Plan is included in the District 65 Critical Response and posted in each school building.

School Party Information

To ensure that holiday parties and other classroom celebrations are safe for all students, please review the following expectations for classroom parties carefully.
 
The main focus of classroom parties should be on the activity or game that students are participating in. Please do not make the focus of a party the food and drinks.
 
It is imperative that allergens are NOT brought into classrooms of students who have known food allergies! Please note that allergens are not limited to peanuts or tree nuts, there are many other food allergies. Head Room Parents should check with the classroom teacher, who will provide a list of known allergies (without student names).
 
If food will be available at a party, please adhere to the following. All food and drink donations have to:
  • Be communicated to room parents and the teacher who is sponsoring the event one week in advance.  The head room parent will send the list of food out to the classroom parents.
  • Be store bought (nothing homemade)
  • Contain no allergens from the identified classroom allergens
Last minute food and drink submissions will not be accepted due to insufficient time to review them.  Please note that LBES classrooms do not celebrate individual student birthdays with a food related treat.
 
Please contact your school nurse or building administrator if you have any questions.