BVSD offers families consultations to keep kids safe throughout the school day
The Boulder Valley School District has approximately 2,000 students with reported food allergies. For the first time, the district is offering families of students with food allergies an opportunity for individual consultations.
To help manage concerns about sending students into schools and cafeterias, allergy consults from representatives of Health Services, Food Services, and the student’s school, are now available to families across the district.
The consultations include a comprehensive review of the student's food allergies, an indication of how severe the student's potential allergic reactions are, and any new medical testing or food challenges that are on the horizon for the student. Together, Health Services and Food Services gather insight from parents and students, including their past experiences and future hopes for the student's dietary intake.
As you may know, menus offered by BVSD Food Services include allergen lists. Meanwhile, school nurses from BVSD Health Services have long offered students with allergies school-based support.
Now these departments are offering consultations so that students and their families can develop a game plan, helping them manage their allergy within the framework of the child's day, including navigating the school and cafeteria environments.
As Registered Dietitian and Operations Manager for Food Services Stephen Menyhart describes, “This opportunity was also created in recognition of the new era of full-day kindergarten in BVSD. As many parents are now sending their 5-year-old children for a full-day school experience, worrying about when and what a student can eat can be overwhelming.”
The impact of these meetings is felt immediately by families, as they recognize the district’s understanding and appreciation for the individual attention provided to each student’s needs.
“We are embracing a 'whole-school' approach to managing their child's allergies and building new relationships between students, parents, and caregivers to ensure a safe and successful school experience, even beyond the classroom,” said Menyhart. “This comprehensive approach to allergy management reinforces our effort to care for individual student needs within the larger school environment.”
Leaders from the Food Services and Health Services departments say they are excited to deepen their collaboration. They believe by working together they will be better able to stay attuned to global allergy research and continue to improve efforts to keep BVSD students safe.
While the risk of an allergic reaction in schools can never be reduced to zero, the combination of greater awareness, education, and collaboration, as well as BVSD's new stock epi-pen initiative, are helping to reduce and mitigate these risks.
For more information on these Individual Allergen Consultations, as well as all other Food Services resources related to nutrition and allergens, please visit https://food.bvsd.org/meals-nutrition/nutrition-allergens.
For more information on health care planning around food allergies, as well as other Health Services resources, please visit Health Conditions at bvsd.org.