Allergy Guidelines

SEVERE ALLERGY & HIGH RISK MEDICAL CONDITION GUIDELINES


General Statement

Almaden Country Day School strives to provide an educational environment that is safe and healthy for its students and welcomes all students, including those who may have medical conditions that can be managed on campus. These Guidelines explain the School’s process for coordinating with parents to consider how best to support children with high-risk medical conditions.

Children with high-risk medical conditions include students for whom everyday foods such as peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and more pose serious and even life-threatening dangers. When exposed to these foods by ingesting, touching, and in some cases just inhaling their odors, severely allergic children are subject to an anaphylactic reaction that can constrict their breathing and quickly become a life and death crisis.

While we cannot guarantee a school environment that is 100% free of peanuts, tree nuts, or other allergens, Almaden Country Day School believes that working in partnership and clearly defining the responsibilities of the School and those of the parents and students will foster the safest environment for students.

School Guidelines

  • ACDS provides allergy-safe foods for the Early Childhood snack and cooking programs only.
  • At all grade levels, classroom and enrichment teachers and support staff will receive written information concerning each student’s conditions and Action Plan, if necessary.
  • As part of our annual first aid instruction, ACDS employees will be trained how to recognize an allergic reaction and properly administer first aid, including epinephrine pens.
  • Given the presence of nut allergies at ACDS in our ECE and Kindergarten student body:
      • Peanuts, tree nuts and any foods or other products containing peanuts and tree nuts are prohibited from Begindergarten, Junior Kindergarten, the Apple Orchard room, and the Kindergarten classrooms, and from inclusion on any field trips or other events for these classes.
      • School staff will only shop for and provide all food for the ECE snack and cooking programs, using a list of “safe” foods based on input from families, nutrition labels, and website research. The “safe” food list will be updated based on the needs of current students.
      • To adequately implement this practice for the ECE snack and cooking programs, all ingredient labels of food items provided by the School will be examined for nuts, and for wording such as "may contain traces of nuts," "processed on equipment that handles nuts” and “processed in a facility that also processes nuts.”
      • Signs will be posted in the ECE classrooms, Kindergarten classrooms, and Apple Orchard indicating these are Allergy Sensitive Areas and indicating to all staff and visitors that peanuts and tree nuts are prohibited.
  • In grades K-8, if a student has a serious food allergy, the student should eat only what his or her parents provide from home unless the parents have made other provisions directly with the School. The School will work with the parents to help the child feel included and safe.
  • Parents of students with food allergies are welcomed and encouraged to provide allergy safe food for school events such as the Thanksgiving Feast, etc.
  • Students are not permitted to share lunch or snack food with one another in the classroom, or while on school sponsored trips.
  • If a child has a serious food allergy that poses a risk of allergic reaction through ingesting, touching or smelling the food allergen, the classroom teacher will ask her/his students and parents to avoid bringing that known food allergen into the classroom in the form of the snacks, party or birthday treats, and/or lunches of the children in that classroom.

Parent Responsibilities

Parents must help mitigate the risks for severely allergic children at Almaden Country Day School in these ways:

  • Do not send your children to Preschool, Junior Kindergarten, Kindergarten, Apple Tree, or Apple Orchard with snacks or lunches containing peanut or tree nut products (including peanut and almond butter and other items containing nuts).
  • No foods containing tree nuts or peanuts or processed on machinery shared with tree nuts or peanuts may be stored in the Early Childhood or Apple Orchard kitchen areas.
  • Please remind your children that they must not share snacks or lunch items with other children at any time.
  • Avoid including peanuts and tree nuts and any foods containing these allergens when you bring food to be shared at school events and activities.
  • When your child’s teacher announces food allergy concerns affecting other students in the class, follow the teacher’s directions concerning lunches, snacks, birthday treats and any food you provide for the class during the school year.
  • In the event your child(ren) may be allergic or have a severe reaction to any foods, especially nut/tree nuts or nut/tree nut products in such a way that may create a serious medical condition, you must notify the School so that appropriate steps may be taken. The School may request written confirmation from the child’s physician that the child has a serious medical condition impacting the child’s ability to attend school.
  • The School may request information from the child’s doctor to better understand how the medical condition might impact the child and affect his/her ability to attend School. This information on the functional limitations of your child will be shared with appropriate School staff on a need to know basis to work to provide a safe environment and appropriate response in case of an exposure.
  • In circumstances where it may be helpful, you may grant written permission for the child’s physician to share additional information with the School about your child’s medical condition. In such circumstances, the permission should clearly designate who may communicate directly with the physician and have access to the additional information provided by the physician.
  • Parents must maintain complete and accurate medical and emergency contact information using the school student information system, ACDS Connect. Clearly indicate, using the ACDS Connect database, if your child has severe allergies or a serious medical condition, which will alert the school to activate the procedures in these Guidelines.
  • If your child has a severe food allergy or other serious medical condition, collaborate with a school team at the start of the school year to develop a reasonable plan accommodating your child’s needs in the classroom, lunch area, after-school program, and school-sponsored activities. If you are not invited by the third week of school to meet with a school team, promptly contact the office to set up the meeting.
  • For students with identified allergies or medical conditions, provide written medical documentation, instructions, and medications as directed by a physician, using the ACDS Medical Safety Action Plan and, if needed, the Food Allergy Action Plan. These forms will be provided by the School in the start-of-school meetings or upon parental request.
  • Provide properly labeled medications for your child(ren) and replace medications after use or upon expiration.
  • Educate your allergic child in the self-management of her/his condition, as is age-appropriate, covering topics including:
  • Safe and unsafe foods
  • Strategies for avoiding exposure to unsafe foods/allergens or other triggering events
  • Symptoms of a reaction or onset of their condition
  • How and when to tell an adult she/he may be having a medically-related problem
  • How to read food labels
  • Consider having your child wear a bracelet that lists the allergy or medical condition.
  • In grades Kindergarten - 8th, provide allergy-safe lunch and snack foods for your allergic child(ren); and for all grade levels, provide safe foods for your allergic children at school events such as the Back to School Family Dinner, Thanksgiving Feast, etc.
  • Review all policies/procedures with the school’s administration, the child’s physician, and the child, if age appropriate, after a reaction/incident has occurred.

Student Responsibilities

  • All students shall review these guidelines with their parents or guardians and agree to abide by them.
  • Students must not share or trade food with others.
  • Students with allergies should not eat food with unknown ingredients or known to contain any allergen.
  • Students with allergies or medical conditions should be proactive in the care and management of their condition based on their developmental level.
  • Students who become aware that they’ve eaten food with their allergy trigger, or are exposed to anything that they believe may cause a reaction, should notify an adult immediately.

School’s Responsibilities

  • Instruct all parents of their responsibilities by way of these Guidelines.
  • Review health records submitted by parents/families and physicians.
  • Contact families who indicate their children have serious food allergies or medical conditions to discuss next steps. The School must document this contact and the next steps taken.
  • Establish a team (including the student’s classroom teacher and at least one administrator) to work with each family who has indicated that their child has a serious food allergy or medical condition to establish a Medical Safety Action Plan and, if needed, a Food Allergy Action Plan, and to determine the manner in which the School may reasonably accommodate their child. At the start of each school year, the School will invite parents who indicate their children have severe allergies or other serious medical conditions to meet, create this plan, and discuss any issues or concerns with the team.
  • Educate staff who work with students with serious allergies and medical conditions so that they can recognize specific symptoms and know what to do for that child in an emergency. All staff will be trained to recognize basic allergy symptoms and activate emergency first aid procedures.
  • Store relevant medications, directions for use, and Action Plans in an easily accessible location. Note that ACDS requires parents and families manage all periodic updates of any prescription medication.
  • Conduct an audit each September to ensure that needed Action Plans have been created and are in place along with medications/directions.
  • Allow students to carry their own epinephrine pens, diabetes medication, asthma related inhaled medications and other similar medications, if age appropriate, upon receipt of appropriate written approval for self-administration by both the students’ parents and their children’s physicians.
  • Provide emergency supplies that are peanut and tree nut free.

CAUTION - Despite these guidelines, ACDS cannot claim that any area on its campus is nut-free or allergen-free because allergens may “find their way” into any classroom or other location on campus — even with the best of intentions of our school community. ACDS provides its staff with training in basic first aid and emergency response procedures. BUT the School does not employ a staff nurse and its adult employees and representatives, including parent volunteers (“School Agents”), are not medical professionals. Parents and families requiring a higher level of medical and emergency care for their children than can be reasonably accommodated by the School will need to explore options outside of the School for providing that care. All actions taken by School Agents under these guidelines will be subject to any general consent to medical treatment and release of liability policies enacted by Almaden Country Day School.