AllergyHome is proud to collaborate with the National PTA to help schools implement The Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs. These voluntary guidelines help schools create and implement working school policies. Experts, agencies and organizations experienced in food allergy management and anaphylaxis in schools contributed to this guidance document.
One of the priority areas mentioned in the guidelines is educating all students and their families. We at AllergyHome applaud the new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control Guidelines and echo that educating the entire school community is critical.
Students pick up on the messages of their parents and others in the school community. Bullying may arise when there are negative attitudes about food allergies. Replacing these with education can create supportive school communities.
If parents understand why certain food allergy management strategies must be implemented then they can become key players to develop supportive schools. Knowing why students with a food allergy need certain accommodations is important in keeping school communities united over food allergy issues. Education and communication is critical for everyone. Additionally, many parents host children with food allergies at play-dates and parties, and knowing what it takes to keep these kids happy and safe goes a long way.
Below are four useful resources that PTAs can use to help their schools follow the guidelines.
1) National PTA’s Empowering PTA Parents to Help Create Safer Schools: This is a three part video series designed to help create a safer learning environment for children with severe allergies.
2) Food Allergy Tips For PTA Leaders: This one page handout helps PTA leaders pass food allergy awareness tips along to other parents in the school community.
3) Awareness Module for Parents: This six minute slideshow with audio was created to increase food allergy awareness in all parents in the school community. It highlights basic facts about food allergies and the constant need for prevention and preparedness. The presentation is designed to help foster an understanding and supportive community.
4) Letter to School Community: A template letter to send to the school community notifying about food allergy policies for the school.
Michael Pistiner, MD, MMSc is a pediatric allergist for Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, as well as a voluntary instructor of pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He is the father of a child with food allergies and serves as a voluntary consultant for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, School Health Services. He is a fellow in the American Academy of Pediatrics, where he is a member of the Council of School Health and the Section of Allergy & Immunology. He is chair of the Medical Advisory Team for Kids with Food Allergies Foundation, serves on the board of Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America, New England Chapter, and is a member of the National (FAME) Food Allergy Management and Education Advisory Board. Dr. Pistiner is the author of Everyday Cool with Food Allergies, a co-author of Living Confidently with Food Allergy, and is co-founder and content creator of AllergyHome.org