As most parents are aware, we have a number of students in our school with life-threatening allergies. We so appreciate the efforts of all parents to help keep our school environment safe for these students. In particular, allergies include peanuts, all tree nuts, and eggs. While eggs baked into bread and cookies are allowed, we strive to have limited or no products that use raw or powdered eggs or where a cooked egg is the main ingredient. For example, chocolate chip cookies are okay, but cupcakes with decorator icing (uses egg white powder), sandwiches with mayonnaise, and hard-boiled eggs are hazardous to some of our students.
We recognize that these restrictions place some stress on parents as they try to put together healthy snacks and lunches for their children, but we encourage everyone to imagine themselves in the shoes of parents whose children have a life-threatening allergy. If you do an on-line search for nut- and egg-free treats, you'll find many interesting ideas to try.
Every student with an allergy, even those who are quite young, takes responsibility for their own safety - they are all experts in their particular allergies, they all know the importance of avoidance to stay safe, they all understand how an epi-pen works and they can all recognize symptoms of exposure to the allergens. They know that it is ultimately their own responsibility to keep themselves safe and to be vigilant in avoiding the things they are allergic to. When we all take care to avoid bringing in items that may cause them harm, we are creating a caring, supportive community.
By law, every school in Ontario must have a plan to ensure the safest environment possible, and to have a care plan for a child when s/he has an anaphylactic reaction. Jean Little has such a policy in place and all staff have training on how to administer an epi-pen and how to support a student in anaphylaxis. Our primary goal is to avoid ever having to put that plan into action.
If you would like more information about allergies and anaphylaxis, please check this website: www.allergysafecommunities.ca