ACPS is committed to keeping students safe and healthy at school. As part of that commitment, we have revised our food allergy guidelines to conform to best practice standards.
The updated food allergy guidelines comply with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Association of School Nurses. Best practice guidance has moved ACPS from an allergen-free to allergy-aware school system.
According to the AAP, one in every 25 children in school are estimated to be affected by food allergies. The most common food allergens are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish shellfish, soy and wheat. Any of these allergens, along with insect stings/bites and latex, can lead to anaphylaxis—a severe allergic reaction. This reaction can cause widespread hives, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing and loss of consciousness. Self-injectable epinephrine is the treatment of choice.
The new ACPS Managing Food Allergies in Schools program focuses on three areas: safeguarding the environment, planning for allergy emergencies and providing education and training. The following details how ACPS is addressing each of these areas.
Safeguard the Environment
- Our schools have a “No Sharing Food” policy—using individually wrapped and labeled foods
This is researched-based best practice. Banning certain foods from school is not recommended. It provides a false sense of security and is impossible to fully control what is brought into the school. It does not help the student learn to manage their own chronic allergic condition and may remove a nutritional food staple that some students rely on for their health.
- Our schools limit food in the classroom
The ACPS Student Wellness Policy (JHCF) “forbids the use of food as a reward/incentive or consequence for misbehavior” and the Wellness Guidelines (JHCF-R) discourages the use of food for celebrations.
- Student and staff wash their hands before and after eating
Plan for Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Emergencies
- Our schools are implementing food allergy action plans with individualized health care provider’s orders and a student’s own self-injectable epinephrine provided by parents/guardians. Parents should provide an allergy action plan and medicine to the school nurse to guide student treatment while at school. This information is communicated to the appropriate staff.
- Our schools have accessible storage for individual student self-injectable epinephrine and provide epinephrine for use in the school for an undiagnosed case of anaphylaxis.
- Each school has established practices to call 911 any time epinephrine is given so that the student can be transported to the nearest emergency room
- ACPS provides teachers, administrators and staff with training on how to recognize and treat anaphylaxis.
- Food allergy and anaphylaxis awareness training for students will be included in classroom instruction.
Please contact your school nurse.