By Heather Legg
For the past few years, I’ve done my prep for the school year and my daughter’s food allergy before school starts so everything is ready, in place and everyone knows about her allergy. Another year is about to kick off in less than a month (where is the summer going!!), so here is what i’ll do:
• write a letter to her teacher (look for a sample in upcoming blog) listing her allergy, her symptoms, her restricted foods, her medicine.
• share this letter with anyone other teachers, administrators who need to know.
• fill out paperwork that the nurse has already sent home, including an allergy plan, medicine dosages and emergency numbers (look for this upcoming, as well). If your nurse doesn’t supply all of this paperwork, you can create your own emergency plan in writing.
• make sure all medicine is within date, label it and get it ready to send in on or before the first day of school. Our clinic needs to have medicine in original packing, so you may want to forego the cute Epipen case and keep that in your purse and save the box to send to the clinic.
• if you need your child’s medicine in the classroom instead of the clinic, do what you need to to get that in place. Our school has a policy that it is kept in the clinic, unless otherwise requested. I think you need a doctor’s letter but then it’s no problem. Also, some teachers are more understanding than others, especially if they have Epipen training (which you’d think they’d all have these days). First and best place to get information may be your teacher. If she is a little resistant, than go to your other sources, school nurse, doctor, administration.
• make sure all paperwork that need to be is signed by your pediatrician. Part of our emergency plan needs a doctor’s signature and if you want it all together prior to school, go ahead and get it done. Pediatrician’s offices get very busy the month before school starts!
• figure out your stance on communication – do you want to address the whole class, the grade, the school? How? By letter, meeting? If you want to send home a letter, get it ready and talk to the teacher so as not to overstep her. You may want to talk to the room mom, too, to get her help with distribution. If you want to speak in person at an open house, talk to the necessary people beforehand to get on the agenda.
Good luck – it will be a great year!