Talking Allergies

Pizza day at school
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Author:  emdash [ Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Pizza day at school

My daughter will be starting kindergarten next year at a school that has a weekly pizza day. She's allergic to milk (as well as eggs, nuts, and sesame). I have been hearing recently of parents' keeping their milk-allergic children home from events involving pizza. Is this a widespread practice? I ask because my daughter has been in daycare among children drinking milk without a problem, but the supervision is close there. I believe the supervisor-child ratio at lunch at the kindergarten school is at least 1:25 and possibly as high at times as 1:100. Do people generally opt to play it safe under such conditions?

Author:  emdash [ Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pizza day at school

Sorry. I should probably add that I know the school is trying to bring handwashing stations (accompanied by a post-lunch handwashing regimen among the students) into the gym where lunch happens because of a current student with food allergies. (Our older son already goes to the school, so we've had a window on the goings on.)

Author:  _Susan_ [ Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pizza day at school

This is a very scary scenario. Will there be adult supervision during the meal?

Author:  ginger [ Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pizza day at school

Supposedly some kindergarten classes have sinks in them while others don't. I read somewhere it is good to get your kid into that classroom - as likely there will be a lot more handwashing done in general.

Also - ensure consistency in who is doing the lunch hour supervision. My 5 year old just informed us that sometimes when he goes to his special program he takes his lunch with him to eat there. We need to ensure that this other teacher knows as much about his condition as his original classroom teacher that we trained.

Author:  emdash [ Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pizza day at school

I believe in most cases kindergarten students eat in the gym, and I've heard the ratio there is one adult supervisor to up to 100 kids. (This is the first year of full-day kindergarten, so the school has experimented with other arrangements, but they seem to have settled on the gym.) The parent council is trying to get handwashing stations brought in to benefit a current student with allergies. Also, I've heard that there is an aide of some kind for the allergic girl at lunch (who has also had some esophagus problems and needs to be reminded to eat slowly and to drink water regularly). My guess is that we may be able to agitate to get the aide to supervise our daughter next year as well.

But my question is about pizza day specifically. I was recently at a forum for parents of allergic students, and it seemed to me that the majority of parents with milk-allergic children were removing their children from school at lunch on pizza days. (I gathered that this was because pizza is a messy finger food.) As we think about our daughter's entry into kindergarten in September 2013, I'm wondering whether we'll have to make arrangements for her on pizza days, and I'm thinking about whether I should be asking the nutrition committee to consider reducing the number of pizza days or perhaps even to consider an alternative for all pizza days. (The parent council is pretty motivated to accommodate allergic children, but I don't want to rock the boat unneccesarily.)

Author:  _Susan_ [ Sun Nov 18, 2012 4:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pizza day at school

I think your best bet is to contact the school and discuss how the school plans to ensure your child's safety given anaphylaxis to dairy and specifically pizza days. It behooves us as parents to place the burden back onto those who authorize Pizza Days to come up with a solution. If we can not encourage them to create a safe environment, by all means, it is OK to remove your child from school on days where the environment is too risky. I would note on the report card that these absences are due to the increased risk.
Our children are supposed to be afforded a safe public education and indeed in the USA the ADA sees food allergies as a disability and FAPE stands for Free and Appropriate Public Education.
If you can't get anywhere with your school, you can contact the Ministry of Education and ask them to assist you.

Author:  emdash [ Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pizza day at school

I think that's good advice. Also, my daughter was at a birthday party featuring pizza last weekend, so we got a sense of the hazards, which seemed significant. I'll start talking to the principal and the parent council reps soon.

Author:  _Susan_ [ Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pizza day at school

I'm not sure where you are but check our school resource hub for info regarding state/provincial policies and guidelines. Be aware of your child's rights.
In the USA, you can get a 504 plan that documents how the school will keep your child safe.

Author:  izzysmom [ Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pizza day at school

we haven't hit this stage yet but I will be keeping my daughter home. It's just not worth it.

Author:  _Susan_ [ Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pizza day at school

You can also ask your allergist to write a letter pointing out the risk and recommending that they rethink their choice of foods.

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