5331, Students with Special Health Care Needs



Accommodating Students with Special Dietary Needs

Administrative Guidelines

Ferndale Public School District is committed to offering safe educational environments for all students. Cooperative efforts between students, parents/guardians, physicians, and school staff members can help minimize risks for students with life threatening allergies. Accordingly, the Superintendent has directed that proactive procedures will be implemented, followed, and monitored with regards to students and/or staff members with life threatening allergens.

With the increase in life-threatening food allergy prevalence in children, school personnel are increasingly involved in managing this condition in their student populations. Michigan and other states are addressing this need by developing food allergy management policy or guidelines, supporting staff professional development and training, modifying lunch offerings and the cafeteria/classroom environment, and collecting student health information related to food allergens. Michigan Food Allergy Guidelines

In order to properly implement the Board policy pertaining to the management of food allergies, the following administrative regulations are established. Ferndale Public Schools guidelines address all of the following essential components for the management of life-threatening food allergies in school and school-associated settings.

  1. Identification of students with food allergies
  2. Individual written FARE Health Care Plans
  3. Healthy, Safe School Environment: Comprehensive and coordinated approach
  4. Communication & Confidentiality
  5. Emergency Response
  6. Professional Development and training for school staff
  7. Awareness education for students
  8. Awareness education and resources for parents/caregivers

Identification of Students with Food Allergies:

Schools will reach out to families utilizing welcome back letters, enrollment, first day of school letters, Open House/Curriculum night, website and newsletters to notify parent/guardians of the importance of communicating medical concerns to the school principal.

All Emergency Forms completed and returned shall be reviewed by the school secretary, social worker and/or Principal to identify each student whose parent/guardian has noted an allergy. After identifying a child with an allergy, a phone call is made by a school administrator to notify the family of their responsibility to develop an authorized FARE medical health care plan in cooperation with their medical doctor.

It is incumbent upon the school to notify all staff members who may be supervising an identified student with food allergies, especially those which may be life-threatening allergies. Ferndale Schools will work with all families of students with allergies once notification is received.

Individual written FARE Medical Health Care Plan:

Once a parent/guardian notifies office/teacher/administrator of known allergies, the school will provide appropriate paperwork for the parent/guardian. The parent/guardian then must complete the FARE medical health care plan with their medical doctor and have them sign it. Upon completion, it should be returned to school. Every Parent/guardian with a child who has medical concerns must provide the school with an individualized action plan prepared by the student’s physician. (Medical Health Care Plan, FARE)

Ferndale Schools will accept only FARE Medical Health Care Plans written by a licensed medical doctor. Upon receipt of the completed and valid FARE Medical Health Care Plan, the school will request the parent/guardian complete and return a release of information form signed by the parent/guardian to allow school personnel to speak with their doctor as necessary.

Depending on the severity of the allergy, each school will work in collaboration with the family and pediatric allergist to implement precautions and procedures to protect the child. Ferndale Public Schools has two (2) general categories to label a school’s allergy handling. These include:

Lower Exposure Risk: Allergy/Nut Awareness Level. I.E. - A nut free table in the cafeteria, allergen/nut restricted classrooms, extra hand washing, follow established FARE medical health care plan as written by doctor.

Higher Exposure Risk: Allergy/Nut Restricted Level. I.E. - Restrict access of all allergen producers into the school at all times, directed and determined only by an airborne or touch allergy identified by a medical doctor and indicated on the FARE health care plan. The medical doctor’s recommendation will determine high risk based on the level of exposure, past history of anaphylaxis or other reactions, and age of child.

Categories will be determined by doctors’ medical health plan documentation in collaboration with the building administrator and parent/guardian. Once a FARE Medical Health Care Plan has been provided, administration will work with parent/guardian, teacher and social worker to decide if a referral for a determination of eligibility under IDEA or Section 504 is warranted in addition to the FARE medical health care plan through the use of the Student Achievement Team.

Healthy, Safe School Environment: Comprehensive and Coordinated Approach

A master Medical Conditions list is completed by each school and maintained throughout the school year. A copy of all master medical conditions is shared with school staff and Central administration including transportation. The Medical Conditions list is sent to building staff members and kept in the front office. In addition, each individual student health care plan is copied and kept in the front office, teacher classrooms including circuits, cafeteria, school-aged child care, and bus, if applicable. If student is an athlete, the coaches will also keep a copy on hand.

Each classroom/office/bus has an identified Emergency Bag that contains a Red Folder with the medical conditions list, emergency contact cards, student health care plans - FARE, IEPs, and/or 504 plans.

Emergency bags are carried on all safety drills and field trips. On Field trips, medicine including Epinephrine provided by the parent/guardian will be kept in the bag with the supervising teacher. The child(ren) with severe allergies will be assigned to the supervising teacher for that day unless their parent/guardian is volunteering/chaperoning. For the classroom where a student has a life threatening allergy, BLUE FARE bags will replace the Yellow Ferndale Bag to notify/alert staff.

At the secondary level, emergency plans and red folders may be different as noted by student(s) age and abilities, but will still be readily available with an informed staff.

All Ferndale Emergency bags will be kept by the front door of the classroom/offices on a hook in a clearly established area and updated throughout the school year.

A no-food trading guideline will be established within our early childhood center and each elementary school to avoid unnecessary risk of exposure.

School protocol on cleaning tables before/after each breakfast/lunch period is established in accordance to State guidelines and student’s individual FARE Medical Health Care Plan, IEP and/or 504 Plan.

Classroom snacks and celebrations will be monitored by teacher, staff and parent/guardian. Celebrations are encouraged to be non-edible and/or abide by the Safe Snack List or approved by Principal prior to any celebration.

If necessary, the parent/guardian of a child with an allergen will be notified of parties/snacks in order to support their child’s inclusion in activity (i.e. – If the child has a milk allergy, the parent/guardian is notified that cookies are being served and the parent/guardian can choose to bring in an alternative cookie).

Some parent/guardians may choose to bring specific snacks for their child with severe allergens that abide by the Safe Snack List and are approved by the Principal/Teacher.  

All school events provided by PTA, PTO, PAC, and other community organizations must abide by administrative guidelines and work in partnership with the Principal when planning.

Ferndale Public Schools Transportation Department will maintain the following procedures to support students with life-threatening allergies:

  • Enforce no eating policies, with appropriate medical considerations and exceptions for bus transportation to and from school and school related events.
  • Equip all school vehicles with two-way communication devices.
  • Include bus drivers as members of the food allergy management team for any passengers with life-threatening food allergies.
  • Provide professional development and training each August/September in allergy awareness, basic prevention, risk reduction procedures, recognition of allergic reaction, storage of medication if needed, implementation of bus emergency response procedures, and how to administer an epi-pen.
  • Assign seating as necessary to support the safety of individual students as written on the FARE Medical Health Care Plan, IEP or 504 Plan.

Communications & Confidentiality:

Once a FARE Medical Health Care Plan has been completed, a letter from the Principal and/or district will be sent home to families within the school, classroom, and/or grade level sharing information on allergen-free procedures. A robo-call will be established to send via phone and email as well.

To support students with severe allergies, the Communications Department will send reminders and updated information regarding the severity of allergies in the E-Blast. Posts on the Ferndale Schools website for allergy awareness will be made throughout the school year. School and classroom newsletters will provide the information when necessary.

Many children with food allergies or medical conditions such as diabetes bring their lunch from home. However, guidelines established by the USDA Child Nutrition Division in charge of school lunches require school food service staff to provide substitute meals to allergic students if the physician of the student sends in written instructions certifying the child’s allergy, what foods are to be avoided, and safe substitutions. Ferndale Schools Food Service Contracted Staff will be notified of students with allergens.

Student privacy/confidentiality while maintaining an inclusive class environment will be followed. Families will play a role in determining if the child will be identified to support inclusionary practices within the class and school family. Ferndale Schools will follow federal/state/district laws and regulations regarding sharing medical information about the student.

Emergency Response:

Students who have been identified as having severe health concerns are encouraged to have some means of identification, such as a medical alert bracelet provided by their family.

The school will identify a staff member to check with each student who carries or has an Epi-Pen to ensure they have their device on a daily basis.

Each building maintains epinephrine in different locations within the school in clearly labeled, unlocked yellow epinephrine containers. The Ferndale Athletics Department  houses additional epinephrine.

If a student is administered epinephrine:

  • 911 must be contacted and the student transported to a local emergency room for follow up care and observation
  • The staff member that administers the epinephrine will stay with the student until Emergency Medical Services(EMS) arrives
  • Family member or emergency contact will be notified immediately
  • The front office staff will retrieve the child’s emergency card and FARE Medical Health Care Plan to provide to EMS upon arrival

In accordance to Ferndale Schools Board Policy, 5330.01

Professional Development & Training for Ferndale School Staff:

The primary concern of the school is the prevention and appropriate treatment of a potentially severe allergic reaction, anaphylaxis.

The school district will ensure that, in each school it operates with an instructional and administrative staff of at least 10, there are at least 2 employees at the school who have been trained in the appropriate use and administration of an epinephrine auto-injector. The training required under this subsection shall be conducted under the supervision of, and shall include evaluation by, a licensed registered professional nurse.

All staff will be trained and updated each September in allergy awareness, basic prevention risk reduction procedures, recognizing allergen reactions,  how to administer an epi-pen, take part in skill-based practice using epinephrine auto-injectors in simulated anaphylaxis emergency response situation and implementing emergency response procedures.

Staff will review procedures two (2) times a year as decided by building administration.

Any new staff member will be trained by administration within two (2) weeks of being hired. (Instructional and non-instructional staff).

Central administration, Principal, social worker, psychologist or nurse will provide updates at monthly staff meetings throughout the school year and will continue to speak to the importance of understanding, abiding by, and monitoring the IEP, 504 Plans, and the FARE Medical Health Care Plans.

Cafeteria staff hired through Ferndale Schools and their contracted food service provider will be instructed throughout the school year about necessary measures required to prevent cross contamination during food handling, preparation, serving of food, and cleaning.

Awareness Education for Students:

Food allergy awareness education is supported by Central administration, Principal, and staff members working together to provide age appropriate information to students on allergies to classrooms/grade levels through children’s books/videos to maximize inclusion and minimize isolation and risk.

All students will be encouraged to only eat food that is prepared or brought from home and/or purchased at school through the Ferndale Schools Food Service provider.  Students will be monitored and reminded not to exchange food or utensils with other students and taught the reasons why.

Students will also be taught a standard protocol for washing their hands upon leaving the cafeteria, during restroom time, and within the classroom.

Awareness Education and Resources for Parents/Caregivers:

Food allergy awareness education for parents/caregivers will be supported by sharing resources, update information in newsletters, e-blasts, and district website. A designated area will be housed in each building to share Allergy Awareness Information/Resources.

Updated, August 2017