School staff and parents are responsible for creating safe and healthy environments for students within the limits created by legislation, school configuration, number of students with allergies, and available school staff. Attendance by children with life-threatening food allergies presents an additional challenge to schools. For some children, severe allergic reactions can be triggered not only by eating foods, but also by their touch and smell. This has implications for the whole school, not just individual classrooms.
Bill 3, also known as Sabrina’s Law, came into effect January 1st, 2006. The purpose of this legislation is to protect anaphylactic students by providing a safe learning environment for all.
The Ontario Allergy Society states that “…it is impractical to achieve complete avoidance of all allergenic foods, as there can be hidden or accidentally-introduced sources.” However, “…it is definitely possible to reduce children’s exposure to allergenic foods within the school setting.”
Light of Christ CES will continue to be an “allergy safe” school. To this end, the following steps will be taken in order to establish and maintain an allergy safe environment, which recognizes the need for safety with regard to life threatening allergies.
Letter (school communication) sent home to all families which:
- Requests that lunches and snacks not contain nuts, nut products, or by-products.
- Specific classrooms will be requested to not send lunches and snacks containing ingredients as indicated on students’ emergency forms (updated list to go to parents if items need to be added).
- Lists products/foods to avoid
- Advises community of “Allergy Safe” environment and of “no food sharing” rule.
- Advises community that our school is part of the Canadian MedicAlert Foundation’s No Child Without program
- Is received by all new families upon registering
“Allergy Safe” environment signs:
- Will be posted throughout the school in prominent locations (in classroom, at entrances, etc.) to promote awareness and educate school community
- Ensure Medication Forms S15 (a) are placed in the staff room, health room, and student’s classroom.
- Ensure that staff receives proper in servicing.
- Provide Student Transportation Services, the school bus driver, with a current copy of Form S15 (a).
Parents (of a child with a severe allergy) will:
- Provide the Principal with a completed copy of form S15 and S15(a) .
- Provide the school with (1) up to date application of the EpiPen, to be stored in the office, and clearly marked with the student’s name and known allergen.
- Provide (1) up to date application of the EpiPen to be carried by the student in a fanny pack, marked with the student’s name and known allergen.
- Be strongly encouraged to have the student wear a MEDIC ALERT BRACELET at all times.
- Be strongly encouraged to enroll in the Canadian MedicAlert Foundation’s No Child Without program.
- Be permitted to attend field trips with their child; if they are not chosen as volunteers they will be responsible for their own transportation and their own admission fee.
- Provide clear information of the student that has Life Threatening allergies for supply teachers including a copy of the form S15 (a).
- Be trained to recognize signs of an anaphylactic reaction and how to take appropriate action.
- Know how to administer the EpiPen.
- Discuss anaphylaxis with the class, in age-appropriate terms.
- Contact the parents of children in their class, for whom an S15 form is required.
- Become familiar with the specifics of the child’s allergy/health issues.
- Establish communication links for the upcoming year.
- Bring a copy of form S15(a), along with the EpiPen in the case of an out-of-school activity.
Teachers and Students will:
- Increase their awareness of anaphylactic reactions.
- Learn the signs of anaphylactic reactions, and the procedure to use if one occurs.
Food in the school:
(a) Lunches will be:
- Eaten indoors. Sharing of food is strictly prohibited.
- Nuts or nut bi-products are to be strictly avoided throughout the school
- When nut/nut bi-products are brought to school: Students will eat in the office area, and then wash their hands thoroughly. An “allergy safe” reminder note/call will be given/made to the student/parent.
Snacks for all grades will be:
- Eaten indoors before/after recess. No food is allowed outdoors. Sharing of food is strictly prohibited.
- If nut/nut bi-products are brought as a snack, then: it will be removed from the student and sent home at the end of the day and an “allergy safe” reminder note/call will be given to the student/parent
Food Sharing Events
(a) Large Scale Celebrations involving more than one class or many parents:
(Graduation, Sacramental Celebrations, Carnival, Pancake Tuesday, Kindergarten Graduation, Parental Gatherings/Meetings, Volunteer Appreciation, CSC Meetings or functions, etc.)
– Food to be shared at these gatherings would be selected from a pre-approved list from the office and purchased by the teachers or committee involved
– A letter would go to parents informing them of the Celebration and the Allergy Safe Foods
(Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s, Easter, St. Patrick’s, Theme Days, Year-end)
– If a teacher wishes to have a classroom celebration, food to be shared at these gatherings would be made up of allergy safe foods purchased by the teacher (selected from a pre-approved list from the office) after the collection of a nominal fee from the students. Clear communication of the food items being served are to be communicated to the parents.
– The school will recognize and celebrate birthdays through announcements. It is not necessary to send in foods to share with classmates. This is time-consuming and often promotes unhealthy eating.
– If a parent wishes to recognize a child’s birthday with his/her class, he/she may only do so using:
- Non-food loot bags, or
- By child donating an educational game or book to the class
School Functions or Fundraisers
- Products used or sold will be Allergy Safe
- Children with severe allergies may use a buddy when leaving the class to go to the library, office, washroom, etc. (Teacher will dialogue with the parent of the allergic child with regards to the use of the above).
The success of this plan is entirely dependent upon the collaborative efforts of the staff, parents and children of Light of Christ CES Catholic School.
Let’s work together to make our school an “Allergy Safe” environment.