Accommodations for Children with Special Dietary Needs
We have seen an increase in special dietary request from parents of students who have food intolerance or allergies. A food allergy is caused when the body’s immune system mistakes an ingredient in food – usually a protein – as harmful and creates a defense system (special compounds called antibodies) to fight it. An allergic reaction occurs when the antibodies are battling an "invading" food protein. Although a person could have an allergy to almost any food, the following foods account for almost 90 percent of all food-related allergic reactions:
- Tree nuts (such as cashews and walnuts)
The Rush-Henrietta Food Service program will work with you to make reasonable accommodations, which adhere to the guidelines set forth by the USDA and the National School Lunch Program. Before accommodations can be made, you must submit a medical statement from your child’s doctor to your school nurse.
Medical Statement for Children with Special Dietary Needs
Each special dietary request must be supported by a statement, which explains the food substitution that is requested. A recognized medical authority must sign it.
The medical statement must include:
- An identification of the medical or special dietary condition which restricts the child's diet.
- The food or foods to be omitted from the child's diet.
If a student has a known food allergy that could result in a life-threatening reaction, you must supply an emergency care plan to the school, which reflects your physician’s recommendations in the event of exposure to the allergen and which is signed by the parent/guardian. These care plans must be reviewed and updated at least once every 12 months, or more often as needed. Emergency care plan templates are available in every school nurse’s office.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss the alternative foods available for your child’s special dietary needs, please contact Geraldo Torres, director of the Food Service Department, at 359-5388.
Read more about feeing students who have food allergies by clicking here.