Calgary Board of Education

 
Food and Allergies

Food

All Calgary Board of Education schools must follow the Alberta Nutrition Guidelines for Children and Youth. CBE Administrative Regulation 3047 Nutrition states:

What this means is that any food provided for children by the school or offered for sale to children by the school, including Healthy Hunger items, must comply with the "Choose Most Often" category in the Nutrition Guidelines. Pages 14 - 22 of the Nutrition Guide provide details about food that falls in this category.

Although the Administrative Regulation does not apply to food brought into the school by children for their lunch or offered to children by parents, we strongly encourage parents to follow the Alberta Nutrition Guidelines as well.

Westgate School Statement Regarding Food Choices

Allergies

Please help us with our students who have nut and peanut allergies. We have over 25 children at Westgate who, if they are exposed to these, may have an anaphalactic reaction.

What is Anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is the medical term for allergic shock. An allergic reaction to peanuts and nuts can be any or all of the following:

  • tingling in the mouth
  • hives
  • itching
  • flushed face, and body
  • swelling of eyes, lips, face, and tongue
  • tightness in the throat, mouth, and chest
  • difficulty breathing and swallowing
  • wheezing, coughing, choking
  • vomiting and stomach upset
  • dizziness and unsteadiness
  • loss of consciousness
  • coma, and
  • death

Some individuals can react to ingesting traces of peanuts or other substances.  Some will even react to touching nuts or peanuts, or even a surface they have been in contact with.

What’s So Special About Peanut Butter?

The particular problems with peanut butter come from its popularity with children and its sticky texture.  While young children with allergies quickly learn how to avoid it, peanut butter may easily get left behind on desks, door handles, etc.

Why Not Just Ban Peanut Products at School?

The Calgary Board of Education policy reflects the fact that trying to ban peanuts, nuts and related products from schools is unrealistic. It would be impossible to demand or guarantee compliance. Even with complete co-operation, it’s too easy to make a mistake, given the wide range of affected foods. A ban could give staff, parents, other students, and most importantly the allergic child, a false sense of security. It is important we work with these children to learn to be responsible in a world that is not peanut free.

What is the School Doing?

At Westgate, children with identified severe allergies are known to our staff.  Families have ensured that medications are on site, and staff have been trained to recognize symptoms and administer medication.

Parents are asked to avoid peanuts and tree nuts from classroom snacks.  In the lunchroom program, children with allergies to nut products may eat at a designated table if that is what their family desires.  When students eat lunch in classrooms all desks are wiped down before classes resume.

At Westgate, student awareness is critical.  Our students know the potential health risk nut products may have for some students.  Most families avoid bringing nut products in their school lunches out of consideration for others, and  to minimize the risk for young children learning to deal with a life threatening allergy.

We ask students that do bring peanut butter or other nut products to let their lunchroom supervisor and their teacher know about the food to ensure that hands and all contacted surfaces are thoroughly cleaned.

If students are exposed to allergens they must immediately wash their hands and the surfaces they have touched. School staff will ensure that this occurs to the best of their ability. Teachers, supervisors and facility operators may not be aware that students have brought food with allergens to school or that students have been exposed to them.

Keeping kids safe at lunch     

The school has designated tables where students with allergies may sit if the family chooses. These are our practices for these tables:

  • Two tables for students with allergies exist; one in the hallway and one in the gym. These areas are treated the same regarding cleaning.
  • Students that sit at these tables cannot bring foods that fall into the current allergy list. This list is based on the students that presently sit at the table and their allergies.
  • The current list includes: peanuts, tree nuts, and pineapple.

  • The table top and seats of these tables are cleaned twice between the lunch rotation.  The cleaning cloth used is unsullied.
  • Students cannot bring a friend with them to the table.
  • Each day, the supervisor assigned to the allergy table scans the students to find faces that are unfamiliar. The supervisor then asks the child what their allergy is. If it is not food-related and the parent/guardian wants them to sit at the allergy table a note must be sent before this student can continue to sit at the allergy table. The student will be placed at a different table until the note is sent.
  • Students are not allowed to share food.
  • Students at risk of an anaphalactic reaction require a note from their parent/guardian to be allowed to sit with the larger student body instead of the allergy table.
  • Each supervisor has been trained on how to administer an Epipen, instructed by the school health nurse.
  • Any lunch supervisor may call 911 if a student requires urgent care. All lunch supervisors, both indoor and outdoor, carry a walkie-talkie that allows them to communicate with the office in case a student experiences an allergic reaction that requires urgent care and/or an Epipen. Office staff will run the student's Epipen to the supervisor if required. Epipens are kept in the office. Some students may casrry them with them.
Revised October, 2016

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