Common areas of schools


If your child goes to a school that encourages only classrooms of PA children to be peanut-free, how do you deal with the common areas? If the rest of the school population can bring in pb sandwiches, how do you ensure those kids aren't smearing it over library books, basketballs, waterfountain handles, playground apparatus, etc.?

My children are severely allergic and I worry constantly that they will touch residue of peanuts or peanut butter in the common areas or on common items of equipment. What approach should the school be taking? What about handwashing? How can it be enforced? Monitoring lunches and asking those eating pb to handwash carefully? Etc....


Thanks. J

On Sep 25, 2003

I have the same exact concerns as you! My PA son's classroom is peanut-free but what about when he goes to the Gym, Library, Computer Lab, etc. I've been trying to think of a way to bring it up without sounding demanding to the school. I don't want them to think that I'm asking for too much, as they've already made his classroom peanut-free with a strict hand washing policy. I would like to request a strict hand washing policy thoughout the school due to contamination. There is one of PA student there so I was thinking of contacting her mother and seeing if she wants to go into this together. School needs to be safe!!

------------------ Mommy to: Jake~ 4 yrs. old- PA Sam~ 2 yrs. old- Not PA

On Sep 25, 2003

You can see how we dealt w/common areas in our plan here: [url=""][/url]

We tackled this from the beginning w/the 504 team that was critical (in our opinions) to manage the common areas effectively. We crafted our language after reviewing between 5-10 other 504 plans created by others.

On Sep 25, 2003

Wow, Nutternomore, what an amazing resource your 504 plan is! I'm in Canada and not familiar with the concept of 504, but your document has plenty of good stuff to present to my children's teachers.

Luckily for me, my letters and phone calls about their school being peanut-free only class by class has paid off. After another meeting with the principal and vice-principal today, it is official that the "Reduce the Risk" approach encouraged by our school board has been extended to the entire school. (Reduce the Risk means they will take reasonable steps as deemed by the principal to reduce, not eliminate, the risk of exposure. Some principals do it class by class, some for the whole school -- it's up to their discretion and, I'd say based on my experience, the input they get from parents affects their approach.)

They have already sent out a letter to all students and will continue to support the policy by placing reminders in school newsletters, reminding students during an assembly (about avoiding bringing peanut products and to wash hands before arrival at school), and reminding common-eating-area monitors to be on the lookout.

I would like to still lobby for more specific education of the students, and certain procedures within their JK classroom need to be improved -- handwashing upon arrival is one I'm going to have to sell -- but with Nuttermom's document I have a lot of backup to help me.

Jodi2Boys, don't worry about being too pushy. Just be polite and persistent. Letters seem to carry more weight than phone calls; I often had trouble getting hold of my principal by phone but she responded almost immediately after I dropped off letters outlining my concerns.

Cross-contamination can be a real threat to your child's safety. Let me know if you'd like any of the info I've presented to my school to emphasize the danger and explain why my children could not be safe with a class-by-class approach.


On Sep 26, 2003


I'd love the info. you used to present to your school. If you'd like, you can e-mail it to me: [email][/email] Thanks!

------------------ Mommy to: Jake~ 4 yrs. old- PA Sam~ 2 yrs. old- Not PA

On Sep 27, 2003

Randgmom: I'm Canadian and our policy is for the entire school and addresses common areas etc.. ..but need your email address to send to you.

On Sep 27, 2003

Thanks, PeanutTrace!