Health & Wellness Committee

The Health & Wellness Committee annually assesses and monitors the implementation of the district’s Wellness Policy and regulations, and reports annually to the Board regarding proposed changes.

View the Wellness Policy

First established by the Board of Education in response to the Education Department mandate under Section 204 of the Child Nutrition and Women, and Infants and Children’s Reauthorization Act of 2004, the committee developed a Wellness Policy, including goals for nutrition education, physical activity, and other school-based activities designed to promote wellness as follows:

  • Provide assurance that guidelines for reimbursable school meals shall not be less restrictive than the regulations of the Child Nutrition Programs
  • Establish an evaluation and monitoring plan for the policy
  • Designate the appropriate personnel within each school to insure that the school meets the goals of the policy

Members

  • Director of Athletics, Physical Education & Health
  • School Business Administrator
  • Food Service Director
  • TZHS School Nurse
  • Teachers: At least 1 per school
  • Parents*: 1 per school
  • Council PTA: 1 member
  • Board of Education: 1 member

*Parent members are nominated by PTA.

Wellness Guidelines

The South Orangetown Central School District is in a position to promote healthy lifestyle choices for our students that can affect their lifelong wellness. Our District Wellness Committee meets 2-4 times per school year in order to support the district’s wellness policy that was adopted in June 2006. The committee meetings serve to review wellness related issues as they affect the South Orangetown Central School District.

These Guidelines will help provide an environment that will promote and protect children’s health, well-being and the ability to learn by supporting healthy eating and physical activity. The guidelines will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis by the Wellness Committee.

I. Health and Nutrition Education

    • The overall goal is to promote the integration of nutrition education into all areas.
    • Nutrition education will be provided each month via monthly menus to all parents and students. The menus will be posted on the District’s website.
    • Promote nutrition education in our Health courses.
    • Incorporate the following into our curriculum:
      o Analysis of food nutrition labels
      o Research projects focused on the benefits of nutrients, minerals and vitamins
      o Brainstorming about nutrition and making healthy choices with food consumption in relation to physical needs and body requirements
      o Emphasis on the results of poor, long-term nutritional decisions
    • Provide training for school nurses, and health educators to recognize indicators of unhealthy eating behaviors in students and make referrals to appropriate services.
    • The contracted food service will participate in the nutrition education program.
    • Media literacy will be incorporated into the curriculum.
    • Hold Wellness events in our schools to promote the messages developed by this committee and educate the students, staff and parents regarding any changes that are recommended by the committee.

II. Nutritional Standards
Below are nutritional guidelines established by the Nutrition Committee of the District Wellness Committee.

  • Beverages and snacks: All beverages and individually packaged snacks sold in the South Orangetown Central School District cafeterias, school stores and vending machines available to students will meet or exceed Federal Guidelines as well as conform to all New York State regulations and follow the guidelines set forth by the District’s Wellness Committee and approved by the Board of Education.
  • Menu Items: All school menus and foods sold through the food service will meet or exceed Federal Guidelines as well as conform to all New York State regulations and follow the guidelines set forth by the District’s Wellness Committee and approved by the Board of Education.

A. Individual snacks sold in school and vending machines
1) All individually sold snacks must be single serving, except for fresh fruit and vegetables.
2) All snacks must be healthy snack choices (e.g., Nuts {HS only}, dried fruit, trail mix, fresh fruit, yogurt, less processed snacks and healthy, freshly-made items)
3) No more than 35% of calories from fat (excluding nuts, seeds, nut /seed butters) and no more than 10% of its calories from saturated and hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated and 0 trans fats. The end goal is to totally eliminate hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats.
4) Will contain no more than 230 mg. of sodium per serving for chips, cereals, crackers, baked fries, baked goods, and other snack items. Sodium content will adhere to 2010 HHFKA guidelines.
5) Continue to provide snacks with fewer additives, artificial coloring/flavoring and preservatives.
6) Continue to provide snacks with fewer added sugars, with an end goal of eliminating excessively processed sugars, such as high fructose corn syrup.

B. Food Service
1) Increase number and variety of fresh and frozen, brightly colored vegetables offered on a daily basis, and ensure that when served, potatoes are prepared skin on.
2) All grains served will be 100% whole grain.
3) Calories from fat should be no more that 35%, comprised primarily of “healthy fats” (higher mono/polyunsaturated such as those found in fish, nuts and vegetable oils). Calories from saturated fat should be no more than 10%, with minimal hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats and 0 trans fats. The end goal is to eliminate hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats.
4) Each meal should contain at least 8 grams of fiber.
5) Limit the number of lunch meals with more than 800mg of sodium to a total of two per week (grades 6-12). Our future goal is to limit the sodium content of all lunch meals to less than 800 mg.
6) Provide foods with fewer additives and artificial coloring/flavoring, and preservatives. Overall, it is good to eliminate foods with artificial ingredients.
7) All foods prepared in the South Orangetown CSD are either baked, broiled, boiled or grilled.
8) Continue to provide foods with fewer added sugars, with an end goal of eliminating excessively processed sugars such as high fructose corn syrup.
9) Continue marketing efforts which focus on healthier food options.

C. Beverages: Will not contain artificial or added sweeteners of any kind. Beverages with fewer additives, preservatives and artificial coloring will be provided. Overall the goal is to eliminate beverages with artificial coloring.

      • Milk: Fat free, low fat (1%) milk and fat free chocolate milk are available. Lactaid and nutritious non-dairy milk alternatives are available upon request with a medical note. Goal is to continue to offer hormone and antibiotic-free milk.
      • Juice and Juice drinks: Fruit juice will be 100% juice with no added sweeteners, Maximum serving size will be 8 oz. at the elementary level, and 12 oz. at the secondary level.
      • Water: Water or seltzer water without added sweeteners is allowed in any quantity.
      • Teas/Coffees: Iced tea, teas and coffee must be decaffeinated and unsweetened.
      • Soda: No soda may be sold in schools.

III. Physical Activity
Schools share a responsibility to help both students and staff establish lifelong habits of being physically active. Regular physical activity is the most important thing people can do to maintain and improve their physical health, mental health, and overall well-being. By providing challenging physical and health education classes, and providing unique opportunities for physical activity during the day, we will give students the knowledge, motivation, and skills needed for lifelong physical activity.

      • Explore enhancement of physical activity opportunities through updating of or acquiring additional age-appropriate playground equipment, fitness trails, and fitness rooms.
      • At the high school level, continue to monitor the effect of physical education electives and explore new additions to the curriculum.
      • Exclusion from physical education or recess will not be used as a disciplinary action.
      • Physical education classes will be a forum to expose students to non-traditional physical activities. (i.e. fencing, rugby, cricket, life-long sports, etc.).

IV. Environment

  • Hand sanitizers will be available to all students. The dispensers will be in the cafeteria areas of each school. Education will be provided so that students will understand that this is not a substitute for hand washing and that there are concerns related to the overuse of antibacterial soaps/products.
  • The environment subcommittee will explore ways to enhance the cafeteria environments in our schools and review the time available for the lunch periods at each school.

V. Allergies

Guidelines & Practices for Managing Life Threatening Food Allergies South Orangetown Central School District Elementary Schools

Overview and Goal
SOCSD recognizes that there are a growing number of students enrolling in our schools with potentially life-threatening food allergies. As public educators we recognize our responsibility to develop appropriate health plans for students with food allergies which detail emergency treatment while proactively addressing conditions to prevent exposure to specific allergens. We believe a collaborative partnership between school and family is the best way to achieve this goal while thoughtfully increasing the student’s independence to care for themselves.

As an educational environment we believe in our capacity to educate our families, teachers, and students to better understand life-threatening food allergies. This will create school communities that differentiate strategies for food allergies with the same generous spirit and understanding demonstrated for differentiated learning styles and other health-related student needs. A collaborative partnership between school, families and medical personnel can provide a safe and healthy learning environment,
which will help parents and their children with food allergies make the transition between the safety of their home environment into the expanding world of a school. When done well, this is one of the greatest lessons a child with food allergies can learn. Similarly, classmates who do not have life threatening allergies develop a greater understanding for individual differences, a capacity for flexibility, and increased compassion.

What is a Food Allergy?
Students with food allergies have over-reactive immune systems that target otherwise harmless elements of our diet and environment. During an allergic reaction to the food, the immune system recognizes a specific food protein as a target. This initiates a sequence of events in the cells of the immune system resulting in the release of chemical mediators such as histamine. These chemical mediators can trigger inflammatory reactions in the tissues of the skin (itching, hives, rash) and the respiratory system (coughing, difficulty breathing, wheezing), the gastrointestinal tract (vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain) and the cardiovascular system (decreasing blood pressure, heartbeat irregularities, shock). When the symptoms are widespread and systemic, the reaction is termed “anaphylaxis” a potentially life-threatening event.

What is Anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening medical condition occurring in allergic individuals after exposure to their specific allergens. Anaphylaxis refers to a collection of symptoms affecting multiple systems in the body. These symptoms may include one or more of the following:

  • Hives
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Vomiting
  • Wheezing
  • Itching
  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
  • Diarrhea
  • Throat tightness or closing
  • Swelling
  • Sense of doom
  • Stomach cramps
  • Itchy scratching lips, tongue, mouth or throat
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Change of voice
  • Dizziness, change in mental status
  • Runny nose
  • Flushed, pale skin cyanotic (bluish) lips and mouth
  • Coughing

The most dangerous symptoms include breathing difficulties, a drop in blood pressure, or shock, which are potentially fatal. Common examples of potentially life-threatening allergies are those to foods and stinging insects. Life-threatening allergic reactions may also occur to medications or latex rubber. Findings from a 2009 to 2010 study of 38,480 children (infant to 18) indicated that 8% have a food allergy.

  • Approximately 6% aged 0-2 years have a food allergy
  • About 9% aged 3-5 years have a food allergy
  • Nearly 8% aged 6-10 years have a food allergy
  • Approximately 8% aged 11-13 years have a food allergy
  • More than 8.5% aged 14-18 years have a food allergy

Anaphylaxis can occur immediately or up to two hours following allergen exposure. In about a third of the anaphylactic reactions the initial symptoms are followed by a delayed wave of symptoms 2-4 hours later.

It is imperative that following the administration of epinephrine, 911 is called and trained emergency personnel examine and transport the student. When in doubt, it is better to give the Epi-Pen Auto-Injector (epinephrine) and seek medical attention. Fatalities occur when epinephrine is withheld or delayed. For those students at risk for food induced anaphylaxis the most important aspect of the management in the school setting should be prevention and prompt response to a possible reaction.
Children with severe food allergies have a higher rate of other allergic diseases including asthma and eczema. Anaphylaxis is more common in children whose food reactions have had respiratory features such as difficulty breathing and throat tightness. Anaphylaxis appears to be much more probable in children who have already experienced an anaphylactic reaction. Anaphylaxis does not require the presence of any skin symptoms such as itching and hives

Children with Food Allergies and Their Families
Not only is raising a child with food allergies challenging, it is scary. Parents must rely on people they do not know to ensure that their child / children are safe and that appropriate medical treatment is provided during an emergency. Parents must ensure strict food avoidance, understand food labeling and be on constant alert to implement an emergency medical plan at any moment. These are just some of the challenges parents of children with food allergies deal with every day. With time, support and education parents become skilled and are well prepared to keep their children safe. Perhaps the greatest challenge parents face is finding the balance between what is safe and what is normal when meeting the needs of their children. The balance works well until it is time to share the care of that child with others. It is at this time that the balance often shifts and parents must work to reestablish it. The challenge to this precarious balance is never greater than when a child begins school. What often worked so well in their own home is now being given to unfamiliar people, with varying degrees of knowledge and experience in working with children impacted by food allergies.

A collaborative partnership between school and families can provide a safe and healthy learning environment, which will help parents and their children make the transition between the safety of their home environment into the expanding world of a school. When done well, this is one of the greatest lessons a child with food allergies can learn; they can be safe in a world outside their own home.

Shared Goals:

  • Students with life-threatening food allergies will over time develop greater independence to keep themselves safe from anaphylactic reactions.
  • SOCSD will promote a healthy school environment by encouraging parents to send healthy snacks such as fruit and vegetables and to consider celebrating special events with fun activities, donating board games or books for the classroom, or providing non-food items such as stickers or school supplies.
  • Through the home-school partnership, school communities will promote an inclusive, sensitive and responsive school climate for students with life threatening food allergies.

General Guidelines

Snacks and Celebrations in the Schools:

  • Parents of food-allergic students will provide safe snacks and treats to be kept in the classroom. These safe snacks may be used by the food-allergic child during classroom celebrations.
  • Sharing of food is discouraged in all elementary schools. This is the case in all classes—not just classes with food-allergic children.
  • Teachers and other school staff, including substitute teachers, should not give food as a reward for good behavior and/or good work.
  • Unscheduled celebrations which include food will be discouraged. Teachers will make every effort to inform the parents of food-allergic students in advance of a planned celebration.
  • Any food that is served as part of a classroom event or celebration should be consumed in the classroom.
  • A notice reminding parents of the food policy and the presence of a food-allergic child will be sent home by the school at or around the beginning of the school year.
  • It is recommended that peanut butter or tree nut products not be used in classroom projects.
  • All elementary students will receive instruction on the necessity for proper hand-washing in their classes.

Lunchroom:
A peanut-free table will be designated in the cafeteria for students with allergies (elementary school). The table will be washed before and after lunch with a separate disposable cloth and cleaner.

Epi-pen locations:
It is required that every parent of a student with food allergies who requires an emergency action plan provide the school with an epi-pen each year to be stored in the nurse’s office. The school will provide an epi-pen set to be stored in the nurse’s office for unidentified occurrences.

Responsibilities of Students with Food Allergies

  • Take as much age-appropriate responsibility as possible for avoiding allergens.
  • Do not trade or share food.
  • Wash hands before and after eating.
  • Learn to recognize symptoms of an allergic reaction as age appropriate.
  • Take more responsibility for your allergies as you get older (refer to parent responsibilities outline).
  • Develop a relationship with the school nurse, your principal, and classroom teacher(s) to assist in identifying issues related to the management of the allergy in school.
  • Learn where medication is located in the school.
  • Assume greater, developmentally appropriate responsibility to notify “new people” of his/her allergen.
  • Say “No, thank you, I have food allergies.” when offered food that did not come from home.


Responsibilities of the Parents/ Guardians/ Family members of a Student with Food Allergies

  • Inform the school nurse and/or principal of your child’s allergies prior to the beginning of the school year –or as soon as possible after a diagnosis.
  • Work with the school nurse to develop the Individualized Health Care Plan (IHCP)
  • Complete the Action Plan with student’s medical doctor.
  • Provide School Nurse with student photo.
  • Provide the school with a way to reach you at all times (work, home and cell phone numbers) and maintain updated emergency contact numbers and medical information.
  • Strongly consider providing a medical alert bracelet or necklace for your child.
  • If ordered by the physician, provide the school nurse with at least (2) up-to-date epinephrine auto injectors.
  • Provide the school nurse with annual updates on your student’s allergy status.
  • Work collaboratively with the school to develop a proactive prevention plan that promotes increasing age-appropriate independence as the student grows and matures.
  • Be willing to provide “safe snacks” for your student’s classroom so there is always something your child can choose from during a special event.
  • Be willing to go on your student’s field trips if possible and if requested.
  • Periodically teach your child to:
    • Recognize the first symptoms of an allergic/anaphylactic reaction.
    • Identify where the Epi-Pen auto injector is kept while at school and who has access to the epinephrine while at school.
    • Communicate clearly as soon as s/he feels a reaction is starting.
    • Do not share snacks, lunches, or drinks.
    • Understand the importance of hand-washing before and after eating with greater personal responsibility.
    • Take as much personal age-appropriate responsibility for his/ her own safety as possible.
    • Communicate “No, thank you, I have food allergies.” when offered food that does not come from home.

Responsibilities of School Administrator

  • Provide and monitor annual training and education for faculty and staff regarding:
    • Foods, insect stings, medications, Latex
    • Risk reduction procedures (ie. peanut-free table)
    • Emergency procedures
  • Provide communication and education to parents and faculty concerning the school’s food policy.
  • Consult with the food services site supervisor to monitor compliance with food allergy regulation guidelines.
  • Make sure a contingency plan is in place in case of a substitute teacher.


Responsibility of the School Nurse

  • Prior to entry into the school (or, for a student who is already in school, immediately after the diagnosis of a life-threatening allergic condition) provide the student’s parent/guardian/ family with the forms to complete in order to develop the IHCP.
  • Following the development of the IHCP, ensure all portions of the Action Plan are completed and the parent and primary health care provider signs the form.
  • Familiarize teachers with the IHCPs and Action Plans of their students by the beginning of school, or as soon as the plans are written.
  • Work with the student’s classroom teacher to communicate with other parents about the nature of the student’s food allergies and classroom/building strategies.
  • Complete the review of all health plans at the start of school.
  • Ensure all school staff has received training having to do with life-threatening food allergens, symptoms, risk reduction procedures and emergency procedures.
  • Ensure adequate supply of epinephrine auto-injectors are available, expiration dates are monitored, and location of Epi-Pen are clearly communicated and labeled for food allergy student(s).
  • Make sure there is a contingency plan in place in the case of a substitute school nurse.
  • Monitor that epinephrine and all necessary medications and completed paperwork are received from each family.
  • Have ready copies of the student’s Action Plan if a 911 call is placed and the student is subsequently transported to a medical care facility following an allergic/anaphylactic response. Copies should be maintained in a predetermined location in the school nurse’s office.

Responsibilities of the Classroom /Special Area Teacher

  • Review the Action Plan and IHCP for any student(s) in your classroom with life threatening allergies.
  • Work with principal to ensure accessible communication between classroom-office while on field trips, the playground and special area classrooms (e.g. cell phones, walkie talkies, etc.).
  • Keep Action Plan with photo in a well-organized, accessible format for substitutes, volunteers, student teachers, TA’s, and they are informed of the student’s food allergies and preventative safeguards.
  • Work with principal and nurse to educate classmates, parents of classmates, colleagues and other school staff regarding proactive risk prevention and the nature of the student’s food sensitivities/anaphylactic response.
  • Educate classmates to avoid endangering, isolating, stigmatizing or harassing students with food allergies. Be aware of how the student with food allergies is being treated.
  • Discuss the importance of the “no sharing” rule to protect all students from possible allergic reactions.
  • Inform parents of the school policy regarding parent initiated celebrations.
  • Inform parents of any school events where food will be served.
  • Never question or hesitate to act if a student reports signs of an allergic reaction.
  • Eliminate unscheduled/unplanned classroom celebrations and/or food rewards or classroom projects.
  • Do not send a child with suspected exposure to the nurse’s office alone. Call the nurse to the classroom or make sure the child is escorted to the nurse’s office with another adult.
  • Prohibit the use of peanut or nut products.

Regarding Snacks and Lunchtime

  • In the classroom, establish procedures to ensure that the student with life-threatening food allergies eats only what s/he brings from home.
  • Prohibit students from sharing or trading snacks and/or lunches.
  • Work with principal to establish an eating area in the lunchroom that is restricted from food to which the student is allergic to.
  • Encourage the general practice of “hand washing” before and after eating.


Regarding Field Trips

  • Ensure a trained staff person is assigned to chaperone student with food allergies when food is served (elementary school).
  • Ensure Epi-Pen and instructions are taken on field trips and are located with the student on his/her bus.
  • Ensure communication between teacher-office/emergency responders is accessible.
  • Inform the school nurse of any planned field trips, completely fill out field trip permission forms and identify the closest medical facility.
  • Invite parents of a student at risk for anaphylaxis to accompany their child on school trips, in addition to the chaperone.
  • Consider ways to wash hands before and after eating (e.g. carry hand wipes, if possible)


Responsibility of Room Parent (elementary school)

  • Work with principal and parents of student with food allergies when communicating to other classroom parents.
  • Work with principal and parents of student with food allergies when arranging class parties and other special events and ensure an inclusive and supportive classroom environment.

Responsibilities for Staff Supervising Lunch

  • Maintain a copy of the Action Plan and photo of student(s) with life threatening allergies with parent permission.
  • Be aware of the location of the Epi-pen in or near the cafeteria.
  • Have posted all EMS or 911 procedures.
  • Work closely with building principal to establish a no nut/no allergen table for food allergic students; establish that this area will be allergen safe (elementary school)
  • Monitor the food allergy table for reactions, food sharing and remove visible food items that are not permitted.
  • Strictly follow cleaning and sanitation protocol to avoid cross-contamination. Use disposable products when cleaning the peanut/nut free table.

More allergy information available at:

The Food Allergy Research & Education (www.foodallergy.org)
Food Allergy Initiative (www.foodallergyinitiative.org)
Eliot and Roslyn Jaffe Institute for Food Allergy at Mt. Sinai Medical Center (www.mssm.edu/jaffe_food_allergy)
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (www.aaaai.org)

VI. Other School-Based Activities

  • Support for the health of all students will be fostered by school nurses who provide vision, hearing, and scoliosis screening at appropriate levels.
  • School nurses will also develop health care plans and offer student health education on a one-to-one basis, as needed.
  • Staff wellness opportunities should be available to all employees in the district.
  • Parent suggestions for age-appropriate physical activities and nutrition options will be shared through the website, PTA meetings, or workshops.
  • Sharing of Foods and Beverages. Schools should discourage students from sharing their foods or beverages with one another during meal or snack times, given concerns about allergies and other restrictions on some children’s diets.
  • Fundraising Activities During and After the School Day: When food is sold in school for fundraising or at school events, such as refreshments at theater productions or athletic events, a nutritious alternative must always be provided along with the other items. The district will disseminate a list of healthier choices.

The District-Wide Wellness Committee should be a yearly, standing committee. The guidelines will be evaluated regularly. An annual status report will be given to the Board of Education.

Contact

Athletics & Physical Education
Tappan Zee High School
15 Dutch Hill Road
Orangeburg, NY 10962

Christopher Rastelli
Acting Director of Athletics,
Physical Education & Health
(845) 680-1640

Jessica Lappe, MS, LAT, ATC, PES
Head Athletic Trainer
(845) 680-1682