When your child with a food allergy returns to a school building, chances are the arrangements for lunch and food will be different than in the past, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, students may eat lunch in classrooms or outside, instead of cafeterias.
Conversations between schools and parents may need to take place ahead of time to ensure that food allergy needs are taken into account, including any necessary adjustments to 504 plans or Individualized Health Care Plans.
Some items parents may wish to discuss with schools:
- where students will eat;
- surface cleaning protocols before and after eating;
- supervision during lunch;
- training of personnel who will be supervising lunch (ie training on administration of EpiPens, CPR, recognition of allergy symptoms);
- availability/access to emergency medication;
- protocols on food sharing and cross-contamination;
- impact on a student with severe allergies who requires an allergen-free classroom;
- substitutes (always an issue but may arise more this year with people staying home with any questionable symptoms).
For additional resources, FARE has a Back to School section on its website.