Bringing food allergy management and awareness to your community

Barriers to Community Wide Education

Challenges Challenge:Specifics Potential Solutions
  • Not enough time for food allergy education
  • Inadequate school nurse coverage
  • Many school nurses are only given short periods of time with staff, parents, and students (limited by busy staff development schedules, orientation schedules, and curriculum requirements.
  • Limited time in nurses day to meet with staff, parents, and students.
  • Maximize the time that you do have (eg. group vs individual training).
  • Discuss time needs with administration. If possible, reference specific time allotment cited by policy recommendations and guidelines
  • Use food allergy management and education as a platform for lobbying against cuts in school nurse coverage and time.
  • Food allergy policies unpopular among staff, parents, and students
  • Old habits die hard, especially in schools that only recently implemented policies. This is apparent when it comes to bake sales, food for celebrations, cultural events etc.
  • Consider meeting with administration to coordinate roll out of new policies.
  • Attempt to have a clear and unified message.
  • Remind all parties of the fact that certain prevention and preparedness strategies and issues are necessary. These policies are not arbitrary or personal preference.
  • Consider having allergist, physician, or educator meet /speak to school community.
  • Remind your community policies are not arbitrary, but reflect best practices
  • Varying supervising bodies for different school staff (not all staff answer to the same administrative group)
  • In some schools, various staff members such as bus drivers, maintenance or food service staff may not fall under the same administrative body as the rest of the staff.
  • Some staff may not attend the same staff development sessions and have different amounts of time that are allowed to be allocated to their specific training.
  • Unions may have regulations that need to be considered when requesting training time.
  • Meet with each group. See if all can coordinate for a single meeting.
  • Consider use of training tools that can be used “on own time” or individual sessions.
  • See if training tools can be reviewed during staff development.
  • Have close working relationship with administration and the staff.
  • Individuals that ignore policies
  • Sometimes, despite excellent and organized attempts to educate and communicate, some individuals do not comply with school policies
  • Be consistent with your expectations.
  • Do not let certain things slide.
  • Use federal, state and local guidelines as an excuse and remind parents that it is not your call, its safe practice.
  • Enlist the assistance of administration and nursing leadership.
  • Remind your community policies are not arbitrary, but reflect best practices
  • Parents or students that don’t agree with content of food allergy education
  • At times there will be families that don’t believe that the current education or implemented policies are stringent enough.
  • Alternatively, some may make recommendations that are restrictive and difficult to implement.
  • Base all education content on available state and federal guidance documentation.
  • Use food allergy educational resources.
  • Enlist the assistance of school nurse leadership and /or the child’s healthcare provider.
  • Consider 504 when child’s needs are unable to be met
  • Fear of singling out or embarrassing the student
  • Concern of releasing confidential health information
  • Issues may arise when a student does not want to be singled out and similarly confidential health information should be protected. While having classroom lesson centered to the individual child with allergies may work well, in some cases it may make the child uncomfortable
  • Implement universal teaching to all students based on the present need of children in general in the school, not to the needs of individuals.

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