You’ve all read the headlines and seen the news stories: food allergies are a growing concern in schools across America. Millions of children - children who are perfectly healthy and normal in every other way – must watch every single bite they eat, or risk suffering a severe or even life threatening reaction. A major health issue such as this must be taken very seriously, and it has always been the policy of this school to make the safety and well-being of our students our top priority.
We have many students at CFES with food allergies, but it is the peanut and tree nut allergies that pose the greatest threat and it is the food allergy that claims more lives each year than any other. A child with a serious peanut allergy can suffer a reaction merely by touching a peanut-containing food. Therefore, we are putting the following safety guidelines into effect:
- Please do not send any peanuts or tree nuts, food containing peanuts / tree nuts, or peanut butter to be eaten as snacks in the classroom. It is fine to send these products for lunch, which is eaten in the cafeteria.
- We will not be doing any classroom projects that involve peanut butter (like bird feeders) or peanut or tree nut shells (art projects). Please do not send any of these projects into the classroom with your child.
- Birthday parties are a special time for children, but can be a difficult time for the food-allergic child. If you wish to send in a “treat” with your child for his/her birthday, ideally it would be best to send a non-food item. Another option for a birthday treat may be an extra recess period or other fun situation that you can discuss with your child’s teacher. If you absolutely feel it necessary to send in a food-item, please make every effort to ensure that it comes from a peanut/tree-nut free factory and/or you have taken every precaution in preparing the treat so that no cross-contamination occurs. If a food item is the chosen treat, please also be sure to alert the teacher a couple days in advance of your plans so he/she can be sure that all students with food allergies have an appropriate treat of their own.
- We will try to keep the food at holiday parties to a minimum. As with birthday treats, we must be extremely careful about the ingredients in all of the food items. Please do not include candy or other treats with celebrations and cards.
- We also encourage all students to wash their hands after eating peanut butter or tree nuts at lunch. If your child consumes peanuts / tree nuts for breakfast, please be sure they wash their hands with soap and water before coming to school.
This is a learning process for all of us, but we trust that you understand how deeply important it is to respect and adhere to these guidelines. Please consult the Snack Safety Guide and other resources available at: http://snacksafely.com. Due to the constant updates, this link is your best and most reliable resource for information about safe snacks. If throughout the course of the year you have any questions or concerns about food-allergy-related issues, please do not hesitate to contact either one of us.
Wishing you and your family a safe and healthy school year!
Shawn Dutkiewicz, CFES Principal and Lisa Hansen, CFES Nurse
Resource provided by the Food Allergy Initiative, a national non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure to life-threatening food allergies. For more information, please visit www.FoodAllergyInitiative.org or email Info@FoodAllergyInitiative.org