Now that school is back in full swing here in Washoe County and we are all getting ready for back to school conferences with our children’s teachers this is a great time to be made aware of the food allergies that may be affecting your children or others in her classroom. My friend Caroline aka the Grateful Foodie has some great ideas to help you, help your student’s teachers and protect all of our children in the classrooms.
- Learn about how Washoe County School District manages students with Food Anaphylaxis (Anaphylaxis is that the life threatening allergic reaction is called) by checking out, “Management of Students with Food Anaphylaxis”. This policy outlines the guidelines parent volunteer, teacher, staff, bus drivers and the roles of others who will interact with students.
- Ask if there are students in your child’s class with life threatening allergies and how you can be supportive. If there are students with food allergies, suggest or bring in non-food items for celebrations. For example: paper airplane making activities, bubble play, short and easy crafts, bracelets, etc.
- Understand that Life threatening allergies can include being allergic to foods, insect bites (bee stings), latex and other items–there is no limit.
- Even though an item might not directly contain an allergen, there might be risk of that allergen accidentally being in that product due to cross contact with equipment used in manufacturing. Therefore, if an allergic student is going to consume an item you are bringing in, beware that the product still may not be safe–seek guidance from the teacher or allergic student’s parent.
- Walk in the shoes of the allergic student and ask yourself if you are including that child. If you bring in cupcakes for the entire class, will you address the allergic students and bring something special for them and choose an item that will include them? Or, will you simply ignore them? Exclusion sometimes impact a child’s self worth and has a greater impact that seen.
- Search for resources for safe items, such as the the Safe Snack Guide produced by Snack Safely. Note: always speak to the teacher or parent before presuming items are safe.
Embracing all students who deal with any sort of health concern is a wonderful way to teacher diversity, tolerance and support. It’s inspiring to witness classmates rally around food allergic friends and insist upon safe options for school celebrations or activities.
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