Management for Life-Threatening Allergies
Food allergies are diagnosed in 1 out of every 13 children in the United States and impact 15 million people per year according to FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education). Individuals with severe food allergies are at risk for anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death. Across the Wyckoff Public Schools, there are children found in almost every classroom with severe food allergies – including peanut, tree nut, milk, egg, fish, soy, wheat, and shellfish.
The Wyckoff Public Schools care about the health, well-being and safety of all students, and the Superintendent and the Board of Education are making food allergy awareness and management a priority. Board Regulation #5331, Management of Life-Threatening Allergies in Schools, was passed in November 2014 to assess and protect students at risk for anaphylaxis and identifies ways to reduce the chance of accidental exposure in school. The entire regulation can be found at Management for Life-Threatening Allergies in Schools Regulation #5331.
The regulation aims to manage and minimize the risk to food allergic children, especially in the classroom and lunchroom settings. Key points in the regulation for parents and students to understand include the following:
- Teachers, aides, volunteers, substitutes, and students are trained about food allergies and symptoms; volunteer delegates are trained to administer epinephrine (epi-pen) when appropriate.
- The certified school nurses notify parents that all treats for birthdays and class celebrations must be peanut/tree nut free.
- If required for use, all school lunchrooms have dedicated and labeled peanut/nut free tables. Students with any type(s) of food allergies will be permitted to sit at this table; this table is cleaned thoroughly between lunch periods.
- Teachers and administrators help other students understand the implications of severe allergies and encourage sensitivity towards food-allergic students. The District actively discourages the labeling of students.
- School lunch vendors are prohibited from serving/selling meals containing peanuts/nuts.
Parents who have a Food Allergy Action Plan in place for their child receive a packet with the District policy and regulation from their school nurse. All parents are encouraged to speak to the school nurse and teacher about their child’s food allergies and restrictions.