Managing Food/Other Allergies in School

Our Lady of Mount Carmel School recognizes that life threatening food/latex/insect stings…allergies are a problem for many children.  The school cannot guarantee an allergy-free environment.  In order to minimize the incidence of life threatening reactions, we ask for your cooperation.

Parents are responsible for:

  • Notifying the school of any serious allergies.  You are encouraged to contact the school nurse prior to your child starting school.  Please provide detailed information, especially for children with multiple allergies.  Provide information regarding what symptoms your child might typically experience that indicate an allergic reaction is starting.  Although ingestion is the primary cause of severe reactions, please let us know if your child has had reactions from skin contact. 
  • Providing written documentation from a physician regarding any life-threatening allergies and medical orders for any medication they may need.  (Life Threatening Allergy Action Plan)
  • Providing properly labeled medication and replacing it after use or when it expires, i.e., EPI-PEN, Auvi-Q, Benadryl, Albuterol…(See Medication Policy)  Our school does not stock these medications.
  • Encouraged to provide “safe snacks” as an alternative to classroom snacks, to be kept in the classroom.  
  • Encouraged to become class parents or to communicate regularly with the parents planning class parties/events. 
  • Communicating with your child’s teachers, bus driver, coaches, and club sponsors.
  • If your child wants to buy lunch at school, please contact the cafeteria staff with any questions you may have regarding whether or not a certain meal is safe for your child.
  • Making sure that your emergency contact information is kept updated throughout the year.
  • Educating their children about the seriousness of their allergy:  their specific allergy(s), strategies for avoiding exposure, safe and unsafe foods, symptoms of an allergic reaction, how and when to tell an adult they might be having an allergy related problem, the importance of reading food labels (age appropriate), and the importance of not sharing/trading food items with other children. 

The School will attempt to reduce exposure to allergens to provide an environment favorable to children with allergies.  We will:

  • Share information regarding life threatening allergies with any of your child’s teachers, cafeteria staff, substitute teachers, etc. and provide them with information about your child’s Allergy Action Plan.
  • Ask class parents and teachers to let other parents know that there is a child in their class with a specific allergy(s) and ask that any class treats being sent in by parents not contain those items.  But due to problems with cross contact during food preparation or hidden items that parents may not recognize as being a potential allergen, we would prefer that you supply foods that you know are safe for your child. 
  • Check labels on any pre-packaged food brought in to be shared for class parties (companies change ingredients in packaged items frequently).  We generally will not give a child a packaged treat that says it was “made in a facility that also processes peanuts (or other allergen)” – unless you specifically give permission for your child to eat that food.
  • Discourage trading/sharing of food among students in the cafeteria.
  • Monitor young children with food allergies during lunch periods.  Children with food allergies should not be sitting next to someone eating food that they are allergic to.
  • Teachers may encourage young children with a peanut allergy to sit at a table designated as peanut free, or have them sit at the end of a lunch table – surrounded by friends who are not eating peanut butter that day.
  • Maintain an up to date list of children with life threatening food allergies in the cafeteria, easily accessible to cafeteria staff and teachers.
  • Encourage students to practice good hand washing after handling food. Hand sanitizer is not adequate in removing allergens.
  • Wash cafeteria tables prior to, between lunch periods and after lunch.
  • Teachers will review lessons plans, projects and activities for items that contain ingredients to which students may be allergic.
  • Educate staff regarding food allergies, symptoms of anaphylactic reactions and their treatment.
  • Send any emergency medication that has been ordered for your child on any school sponsored field trips.
  • Contact EMS to transport your child to the hospital for further evaluation and treatment, immediately after administering an EPI-PEN for an anaphylactic reaction.
  • Notify parents as soon as possible after a severe allergic reaction occurs.

Student Responsibility:

  • Do not trade food with other students. 
  • Do not eat anything with unknown ingredients or known to contain the food allergen.
  • Need to be proactive in the care and management of their food allergies (age appropriate).
  • Recognize the importance of informing friends about their life threatening allergies.
  • Need to notify an adult immediately if they believe they have eaten or been exposed to the food allergen.

*Emergency Medications for Life Threating Allergic Reactions are kept in the clinic and are readily available during school hours and are sent on all school sponsored field trips.

However, if your child is planning to participate in after school sports programs or clubs, you may want to talk with your doctor and get orders for your child to self-carry an extra EPI-PEN or Auvi-Q, which can be kept in their backpack or sports bag along with a copy of their Allergy Action Plan.