FARE-CDC Collaboration Results in Resources for Schools

cdccoverThe Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) published “Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care Education Programs” last fall. The information in these guidelines helps schools to avoid, recognize, and treat allergic reactions while ensuring that students with food allergies are safely included in all school activities. FARE has created several useful resources based on the CDC guidelines to help increase awareness around food allergy management in schools.

We encourage you to review, download and bring the following documents to your child’s school:

Keeping Children with Food Allergies Safe at School

cdcthumb1Every student at risk for anaphylaxis should have an individual written accommodation plan. A child’s accommodation plan (Section 504 or other written plan) has two parts: the accommodations or services needed for the child to be safely included in activities, and the emergency care plan (such as FARE’s Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan). Download this one-page handout of important recommendations from the CDC national guidelines.

Recommended Practices for Reducing the Risk of Exposure to Food Allergens and Responding to Food Allergies in Schools and Early Childhood Education Programs

cdcthumb2On pages 41–43 of the CDC guidelines are recommended practices and accommodations to help ensure that children with food allergies are safely included in school. Download this one-page handout of important recommendations from the CDC national guidelines. Recommendations for the Classroom, Cafeteria, Transportation, School Events, and Physical Education and Recess include practices such as:

  • Avoid the use of identified allergens in class projects, parties, holidays and celebrations, arts, crafts, science experiments, cooking, snacks, or rewards;
  • Use non-food incentives for prizes, gifts and awards;
  • Do not exclude children with food allergies from field trips, events, or extra-curricular activities;
  • Encourage hand washing before and after handling or consuming food; and
  • Have rapid access to epinephrine auto-injectors and train staff to use them.

Actions for School Boards and School District Administrators

Data from CDC’s 2006 School Health Policies and Programs Study indicated that only slightly more than 40 percent of school districts have model food allergy policies. District policies are implemented with the support of board members, the district superintendent, and district-level staff members.

cdcthumb3School Boards can adopt written policies that direct and support clear, consistent, and effective practices for managing the risk of food allergies and responding to food allergy emergencies. A comprehensive and uniform set of district policies can promote consistency of priorities, actions, and options for managing food allergies across the district to avoid confusion and haphazard responses, as well as ensuring that practices are aligned with federal and state laws, including regulations, and policies, as well as other established school policies. Download this handout.

cdcthumb4School District Administrators can provide direct assistance to schools to help them meet the needs of students with food allergies, especially when the school does not have key staff, such as a doctor or a full-time registered nurse. Effective management of food allergies in schools requires the participation of many people. Administrators can help ensure that policies and procedures are established in order to identify students with food allergies, and that all school staff understand the school’s responsibilities under the federal laws and regulations that govern food allergies at school including, but not limited to: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Download this document.

For additional information, please visit: http://www.foodallergy.org/cdc

This article was originally published in the Summer 2014 issue of FARE’s Food Allergy News. Read more of the newsletter here.

Just Released – National Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools

cdccoverToday marks a milestone for the food allergy community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published “Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies In Schools and Early Care and Education Programs” – the first comprehensive national guidelines for school food allergy management. Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) collaborated with the CDC along with other groups on the development of these guidelines.

The CDC guidelines seek to protect the physical and emotional health of students with food allergies by providing practical information and strategies for schools to use while reinforcing federal laws and regulations. These guidelines can help schools and early childhood programs improve existing practices and implement policies that may help reduce allergic reactions, improve response to life-threatening reactions and ensure current policies are in line with laws that protect children with serious health issues.

Here’s how you can help spread the word that the CDC guidelines are now available:

  • Know the Facts: More than 15 percent of children with food allergies have had a reaction at school, and approximately 25 percent of epinephrine administrations in the school setting involved an individual whose allergy was previously undiagnosed.
  • Contact Your District and School Leaders: Reach out to your school board, superintendent, principal, and/or school health office to let them know that the guidelines are available at www.foodallergy.org/CDC. If your school district already has school food allergy management guidelines in place, ask your school officials to consider the CDC guidelines the next time changes are proposed. We also have handouts for School Boards and School District Administrators available on our website.
  • Tell Your Friends: Let other families know that they can help increase awareness of the new CDC guidelines by notifying their district or school leaders.

With your help, we can continue to advance the safety and inclusion of students with food allergies at school. We appreciate your support and your help in spreading the word about the CDC guidelines in your local community. For more information, visit  www.foodallergy.org/CDC or http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/foodallergies/.