8516 - Accommodating Students With Special Dietary Needs

The purpose of this policy is to establish a safe environment for students with food allergies and to support parents regarding food allergy management.  In accordance with applicable law, it is the policy of the Grand Island Public Schools to provide all students, through necessary accommodations where required, the opportunity to participate fully in all school programs and activities.

The Grand Island Public Schools recognizes the need to help the allergic child avoid foods to which the child is allergic and to establish emergency procedures to treat allergic reactions that may occur.  In some cases, a student’s allergy may prevent him or her from eating meals prepared for the general school population.

Substitutions to the regular meal will be made for students who are unable to eat school meals because of their allergies, when a physician certifies that need in writing.  Meal service shall be provided in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of the student.

The nature of the student’s allergy, the reason the allergy prevents the student from eating the regular school meals, including food to be omitted from the student’s diet, indication of the major life activity affected by the allergy, the specific diet prescription along with the substitution(s) needed will be specifically described in a statement signed by a licensed physician.  The district in compliance with USDA Child Nutrition Division Guidelines will provide substitute meals to food-allergic students based upon the physician’s signed statement.

An Individualized Health Care Plan (IHCP) and an Emergency Care Plan (ECP) shall be developed and implemented for students that are identified with food allergies.  In addition, the Board recognizes that students with documented life-threatening food allergies may be considered disabled and eligible for coverage under the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, and Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

To enhance the student’s opportunity to fully participate in school programs and activities, the school district, parents and student should assume the following responsibilities:


  1. Notify school of student’s allergies.
  2. Provide written medical documentation, instructions, and medications as directed by a physician.  Participate in the development of the Health Care Plan.
  3. Provide the school with instructions for contacting parents or other responsible adults in case of an emergency.
  4. Provide written consent for medication administration, if needed.


  1. Avoid known triggers for allergies.
  2. Recognize the need for carrying medication such as an EpiPen® with parental consent and when age-appropriate.  Understand and demonstrate proper use of medications.
  3. Report symptoms to the teacher or nurse.
  4. Actively participate in the development of the Health Care Plan.


  1. Participate in the development of a Health Care Plan for the student.
  2. Develop procedures to manage the student’s allergic condition including avoidance measures.
  3. Ensure that there is a staff member available who is trained to administer emergency medications and provide for emergency care.
  4. Provide basic general education to staff members and bus drivers regarding allergies and anaphylaxis.


  1. Provide a signed letter or statement which describes the allergic condition, contains the physician’s recommendations, identifies any foods to avoid and any permissible dietary substitutions, identifies the student’s medication and prescribed use, and lists any major life activity limitations.

The school district will have standing orders signed by a physician for response to life-threatening allergies or anaphylaxis.  For students with life-threatening allergic reactions the school district will implement the Emergency Response to Life-Threatening Asthma or Systemic Allergic Reactions as required by the Nebraska Department of Education, Rule 59, as follows:

  1. CALL 911.
  2. Summon school nurse if available.  If not, summon designated trained, non-medical staff to implement emergency protocol.
  3. Check airway patency, breathing, respiratory rate, and pulse.
  4. Administer medications (EpiPen® and albuterol) per standing order.
  5. Determine cause as quickly as possible.
  6. Monitor vital signs (pulse, respiration, etc.).
  7. Contact parents immediately and physician as soon as possible.
  8. Any individual treated for symptoms with epinephrine at school will be transferred to medical facility.

Legal References:
Americans with Disabilities Act 2009 – 42 U.S.C. §12102(2)
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 29 U.S.C. §705
Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 – PL 11-296

Policy Adopted: 09.13.2012

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