NSBA Launches New Food Allergy Policy Guide for Schools
January 9, 2012 – The National School Boards Association (NSBA) has published a policy guide to help school leaders establish policies and practices that support the safety, well-being, and academic success of students with life-threatening food allergies.
“Safe at School and Ready to Learn: A Comprehensive Policy Guide for Protecting Students with Life-threatening Food Allergies” emphasizes the need for schools to partner with families and healthcare providers in identifying and supporting individual student needs and preparing management plans. In addition, it provides recommendations on following medication protocols; establishing a coordinated system to prevent and respond to food allergy-related emergencies across the school environment; communicating with and educating parents, students, and school personnel; and monitoring and evaluating policies and practices.
The publication also includes a checklist for schools to assess the extent to which the guide’s components are included in food allergy policies and practices being developed and implemented; sample state and local education policies; as well as a glossary of commonly used terms and a list of resources related to food allergies.
Developed with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and, in response to the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, the publication emphasizes the role of schools in protecting students with life-threatening food allergies. It has been estimated that one in every 25 school-aged children have a food allergy with the rates of reported food allergies increasing 18 percent in the ten year period from 1997 to 2007. Since children spend a considerable amount of time in school, it is inevitable that emergencies, such as allergic reactions, will occur in the school environment. Studies actually show that approximately 16 to 18 percent of children with food allergies have had a mild to life-threatening reaction at school. NSBA’s food allergy policy guide highlights such compelling data to relay the need for comprehensive policies that prevent and manage food allergy-related emergencies.
To access this publication online and for further information on addressing food allergies in schools, visit NSBA’s Food Allergies & Schools webpage at http://www.nsba.org/foodallergy. The webpage includes a PowerPoint presentation that can be used as is or adapted to help bring attention to and manage food allergies in schools. The presentation is aligned with comprehensive policy components that are included in the food allergy policy guide.