Dear Parents/Guardians:

It is important that all parents/ guardians be reminded that a number of children in our school have a severe life-threatening food allergy (anaphylaxis) to peanuts and tree nuts. This includes any food that contains peanuts/nuts, or is known to have been manufactured or processed in a facility that includes nuts. Anaphylaxis is a medical condition that causes a severe reaction to specific foods and can result in death within minutes. Therefore, it is critical that all parents/ guardians adhere to the Waterloo Catholic District School Board’s policy with respect to anaphylaxis. Below are a few important highlights of the WCDSB APH 005: Anaphylaxis Policy:

  • When the school community recognizes the right of parents to feed their children whatever they choose, but acknowledges the right to life and safety as greater, most families are receptive to procedures that protect the allergic student(s).
  • “The CEO [Principal] shall not cause or allow conditions, procedures, actions, or decisions that are unsafe or unhealthy”. Since exposure to peanut butter and/or other nut-containing products could prove harmful or fatal to some students, peanut butter and all products containing nuts of any kind are not permitted in Waterloo Region’s Catholic Schools.
  • Additionally, since school administrators, staff and volunteers are not food experts and are not qualified to decide what is (or isn’t) real peanut butter, students arriving at school with a peanut butter substitute will be dealt with using the same protocol used for students who arrive at school with real peanut butter.

This reminder is being sent for a second time this school year as we continue to have snacks and lunches sent to school that contain nuts.

All school staff have been made aware of the severity of this condition and have been instructed in the correct procedures regarding anaphylaxis. Prevention, of course, is the best approach. Although this may or may not affect your child’s class directly, we want to inform you so that you send foods to school with your child that are free from peanuts or nut products. If a product says “may contain nuts” it should not be sent to school. In a school setting, cross-contamination is the greatest risk for this type of allergy. Trace amounts of peanuts/nuts can be left on gym equipment, computer keyboards, pencils, etc. As a school community, we cannot take the risk associated with cross contamination. Children’s lives depend on our due diligence. The staff at St. Joseph endeavour to make the school a safe environment for all students, and life-threatening conditions are paramount to all other issues.

If you require further information about anaphylaxis please contact the school.

Thank you for your support.