Back-to-School Tips to Help Create a Safer and Smoother Transition into the New School Year

Back-to-School Tips to Help Create a Safer and Smoother Transition into the New School Year

by Stacey Stratton, FAACT Publications Manager

When your child has food allergies, the start of a new school year can seem scary.

It might feel overwhelming as you’re trying to gather different resources and think of questions to ask. Here are some tips and resources to help guide you as you prepare.

1. If you are new to this school, call to set up a time to visit and meet the principal and office secretary. Ask in advance if you’ll be able to take a quick tour of the building. This can allow you to look around for any areas of concern and address them before the first day.

When you’re there, also discuss areas like the cafeteria, playground and bus. You’ll want to know if they have rules on the playground (food, bullying, etc.) and a monitor that can help watch over your child. What are the transportation details…including the route, rules, and assigned seating? Where will your child eat in the cafeteria and how is the lunchroom monitored?

Be sure to let the principal know FAACT has resources available for School Personnel.

Also, share resources about food allergy bullying.

Does your child currently have a 504 plan? Visit FAACT for more information about 504 plans and learn how FAACT can help assist you, if needed. Find out when can you have a team meeting to meet everyone, discuss your child’s needs, and also discuss the school environment and procedures in more detail.

Be sure to pick up all the necessary school forms for your child.

2. Schedule an appointment with the allergist to fill out the allergy action plan and any other medical forms required from the school. If there’s something you don’t understand, be sure to ask the allergist to help clarify. Also, take detailed notes so you can discuss this information with the school staff.

3. Meet with the school nurse to discuss your child’s allergy and find out more about how the school handles emergencies and trains the staff. Go over the forms to make sure they’ve been properly completed and are fully understood. Find out when you should bring the medicine kit bag/epinephrine. Also, let the school nurse know that FAACT has a free food allergy educational program available: ‘FAACTs for Schools’ Program.

4. Meet with your child’s teacher(s) as soon as possible. Let them know your concerns and find out more details about your child’s school day. Make sure they fully understand the food allergy, and precautions that need to be taken. Discuss the importance of contacting you in advance about any field trips or parties. Find out if there’s anything you can do to help assist teaching classmates or informing other parents.

Here are some resources you can share with the teacher:

-        FAACTs Food Allergy Curricula Program for Schools

-        Field Trip Tips

By working together as a team, you can help create a safer and smoother transition. Be sure you share your ideas and also remain open to hear their ideas too. They know more about how the school day flows and may have some helpful suggestions you might not have known or considered.  

About the Author

Stacey Stratton is FAACT’s Publications Manager and also the Founder of the Her book Allergies at School has helpful TIPS, checklists, and resources to help you work with your school. Her book will be available August 15th at Allergy Free Zone and Amazon.