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Allergy Guidelines

The Catherine Cook School is committed to responsibly limiting a student’s risk of exposure to foods to which he or she is allergic by responsibly limiting potential food allergens that may come into the school.

Items containing peanuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, other tree nuts, or any known food allergen should not be brought on school grounds for any project, for any fieldtrip, for any event, for any reason, at any time, by any individual adult or child.

Keeping students with food allergies safe requires the education and cooperation of the entire community. It is critically important that each student with allergies, his or her parents/guardians, the faculty, the staff, food service providers, other students, their parents/guardians, and guests all fulfill their respective responsibilities. If you have any questions, please contact the School Nurse at ext. 2150 or nurse@ccookschool.org.

If a child possesses a serious risk of allergic reaction through ingestion of any known allergen, parents and guardians must notify the school nurse at nurse@ccookschool.org.

Student Responsibilities

Parents will educate their child(ren) in the self-management of her/his/their allergy. We also have responsibilities for all students, especially those with allergies, to follow:

  • Do not share or trade food with others
  • Wash hands following snack and lunch time
  • Be proactive in the care and management of their allergies and reactions to food allergens
  • Notify an adult immediately if something believed contain an allergen has been eaten or if exposure is feared.

Even with its best efforts, the school cannot control any individual’s behavior. Therefore the school cannot guarantee a 100% nut-free or allergen-free environment and cannot be labeled as an allergen-free or nut-free school. The school will respond to any violations of these guidelines.

Parent/Guardian Responsibilities

Parent(s)/guardian(s) have the responsibility to educate and empower their child(ren) in the self-management of allergies, including (but not limited to):

  • Identifying safe and unsafe foods
  • Strategies for avoiding exposure to unsafe foods/allergens
  • Symptoms of an allergic reaction
  • How to read food labels
  • The importance of not sharing or trading food with others
  • The importance of washing hands following snack and lunch time
  • How to be proactive in the care and management of their allergies and reactions
  • How and when to tell an adult he/she may be having an allergy-related problem

Notification and Communication
If a child possesses a serious risk of allergic reaction through ingestion of any known allergen, parents and guardians must take the following critical steps with respect to communicating with the school:

Parents and guardians must notify the school of their child(ren)'s situation by completing an Allergy Action Plan, which needs to be signed by the child(ren)'s physician and shared with the school nurse. Catherine Cook recommends that parents/guardians initiate a meeting with the school nurse and the students' teacher prior to the first day of school to review this plan.

In addition, parents and guardians must stress to their children the importance of notifying an adult immediately if they eat something they believe may contain the food to which they are allergic, or if they are exposed to an allergen that they know may cause a reaction.

Medication
It is the responsibility of the parents and guardians of students in the Lower School and in Early Childhood to provide emergency medications, including two (2) Epinephrine pens and Benadryl, and replace medications after use or upon expiration. One (1) Epinephrine pen will be located in the school nurse's office, and one (1) will be kept in the primary classroom or a dedicated emergency backpack.

It is the responsibility of the parent(s)/guardian(s) of students in the Middle School to provide emergency medications, including one (1) Epinephrine pen and Benadryl and replace medications after use or upon expiration. This will be kept in the nurse's office.

Upon parent/guardian request, students with life-threatening allergies will be allowed to carry his/her/their own Epinephrine pens in a designated emergency backpack, if age-appropriate, after the approval of their physicians. This is in addition to the aforementioned requirements of keeping one (1) in the nurse's office.

Alternative Food Options
To protect children with allergies and to promote healthy lifestyle choices, all parents who choose to provide birthday or classroom treats should bring healthy treats that do not contain tree nuts or peanuts.

Parents and guardians of children with life-threatening allergies always have the option of providing separate food for school events where food will be consumed: snacks, birthdays, and celebratory events. This is to be coordinated with the primary teacher.

School Responsibilities

Alongside the parents and guardians, the student's Division Head, primary teacher, enrichment teachers, and the school nurse will all review a student's individual Allergy Action Plan before the start of school. Copies of the Allergy Action Plan will be provided to each teacher, and additional copies will be in the Nurse's Office and Main Office. An electronic copy will be attached to the student's record.

On an annual basis, the school will provide faculty training in how to recognize an allergic reaction and how to use an Epinephrine pen.

The school will store the provided emergency medications as outlined above.

The school will take an active role in assuring students with allergies are included in school activities. (Students will not be excluded from school activities solely based on their allergies.)

The school will support parent/guardian requests for students with life-threatening allergies to carry their own Epinephrine pens in a designated emergency backpack, if age appropriate, after the approval of their physicians. This is in addition to the aforementioned requirements of keeping one (1) in the nurse's office.

The school will take an active role in cleaning eating surfaces after snack or lunch time.

The school will work with parents and guardians to help students feel included and safe. The school shall provide allergen-free snacks daily for the Preschool classrooms. If a lunch or snack containing peanuts or treenuts is mistakenly brought to school, an acceptable replacement lunch or snack will be available. Parents and guardians who sent the lunch with allergens will be notified.

Students are not permitted to share or trade lunch or snack food with one another in the lunchroom, classroom, or while on school-sponsored trips. If a student with a food allergy has forgotten her or his lunch or snack, arrangements to substitute food will be made by a member of the faculty or staff.

Art projects, cooking projects, ASA projects, or any project conducted at school or on field trips should not use any ingredients containing peanuts, tree-nuts, or known allergens.

Concessions, snacks, or treats provided for students in auxiliary programs (e.g., After School Adventures) or school-sponsored activities should not have food present with ingredients containing peanuts or tree nuts. School-sponsored events include field trips, holiday celebrations and concerts, VIP Day, sporting events, etc. will adhere to this guideline.

Concessions, snacks, or treats provided for parents, guardians, or teachers in the school should also not contain ingredients with peanuts or tree nuts. These occasions may include Parent Education seminars, Parent Association meetings, teacher treats, and teacher appreciation luncheons.

Parents will educate their child(ren) in the self-management of her/his/their allergy. We also have responsibilities for all students, especially those with allergies, to follow:

  • Do not share or trade food with others
  • Wash hands following snack and lunch time
  • Be proactive in the care and management of their allergies and reactions to food allergens
  • Notify an adult immediately if something believed to contain an allergen has been eaten or if exposure is feared.

Even with its best efforts, the school cannot control any individual’s behavior. Therefore the school cannot guarantee a 100% nut-free or allergen-free environment and cannot be labeled as an allergen-free or nut-free school. The school will respond to any violations of these guidelines


Healthy School Snacks

Looking for healthy snack suggestions for your child(ren)? Click here to download suggestions for healthy snack options, adapted with permission from the Healthy Schools Campaign. Thanks to Catherine Cook parent Melissa Graham for providing these materials.