Accomodating children with special dietary needs

Generally, children with food allergies or intolerances do not have a disability as defined under either Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or Part B of IDEA, and the school food service may, but is not required to, make food substitutions for them.However, when in the licensed physician’s assessment, food allergies may result in severe, life-threatening (anaphylactic) reactions, the child’s condition would meet the definition of “disability”, and the substitutions prescribed by the licensed physician must be made.

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For allergies that are not life-threatening, but are of concern and noted on a student’s school enrollment form, a note will be placed on the student’s computerized lunch account.

Students will be discouraged from choosing the offending foods, but no substutiions will be made.

Each school nutrition director/supervisor/contact person will receive a copy of this new USDA manual.

This new manual is best used in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Education and Virginia Department of Health manual Nutrition Management of Handicapped and Chronically Ill School Age Children, which was distributed to every Virginia school division in 1996.

A school division or institution participating in the federally funded school nutrition programs (NSLP, SBP, ASP or SMP) is obligated to provide substitutions to the standard meal pattern for students who are considered disabled as defined in USDAs nondiscrimination regulations (7 CFR Part 15b) and whose disability restricts their diet.

Section II of the USDA manual, Accommodating Children with Special Dietary Needs, defines the term disability and the required substitutions for a disabled student with an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Accommodating Students with Disabling Special Dietary Needs Schools participating in a federal Child Nutrition Program (School Lunch, School Breakfast or After School Snack Program) are required to make accommodations for children who are unable to eat the school meals because of a disability* that restricts their diet.

In order to make modifications or substitutions to the school meal, schools must have a written Medical Statement on file that is signed by a licensed physician or other State licensed health care professional authorized to write medical prescriptions under State law.

Each special dietary request must be supported by a statement explaining the requested food substitution or specific allergen and must be signed by a recognized medical authority.

The Medical Statement must include: If we do not receive a medical statement from a recognized medical authority, your child will receive a regular lunch tray.

Students who require modified school lunch menus due to a disability, as defined by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, or life-threatening food allergies, are eligible for special accommodations.

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