The federal government has announced new (voluntary) guidelines for schools to follow in an effort to shield children with food allergies. Not only do they call for restrictions on such items as peanuts, tree nuts, milk products, and shellfish, etc. but they call for the schools to make sure that they have EpiPens and other emergency medicines on hand.
While the guidelines were just released yesterday, they were mandated by a federal law passed in 2011.
Although administrators realize that it is impossible to guard against all 170 foods known to cause allergic reactions, they do realize the need to identify children with specific allergies and take the necessary precautions to prevent exposure to foods that could harm them. In fact, numerous school districts as well as private institutions in 15 states are already training teachers and other staff members how to use medications, including epinephrine shots in case of emergencies.
Officials also emphasized the need to be aware of students’ allergies when planning class field trips and parties. It is also up to parents or guardians to make sure that the schools (as well as other adults) are well informed about any allergies their children suffer from.