Managing Food Allergy in Schools During the COVID-19 Pandemic
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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and massive disruptions to daily life in the spring of 2020, in May 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released guidance recommendations for schools regarding how to have students attend while adhering to principles of how to reduce the risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2. As part of physical distancing measures, the CDC is recommending that schools who traditionally have had students eat in a cafeteria or common large space instead have children eat their lunch or other meals in the classroom at already physically distanced desks. This has sparked concern for the safety of food-allergic children attending school, and some question of how the new CDC recommendations can coexist with recommendations in the 2013 CDC Voluntary Guidelines on Managing Food Allergy in Schools as well as accommodations that students may be afforded through disability law that may have previously prohibited eating in the classroom. This expert consensus explores the issues related to evidence-based management of food allergy at school, the issues of managing the health of children attending school that are acutely posed by the constraints of an infectious pandemic, and how to harmonize these needs so that all children can attend school with minimal risk from both an infectious and allergic standpoint.
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