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Special Meal Accommodations

Providing healthy and safe learning environments for students: meal accommodations information

Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) is concerned with keeping each of our students healthy and safe. We want to provide a safe learning environment for all of our students. 
If your student has a life-threatening food allergy, please contact your school nurse before the first day of school to discuss implementing an allergy action plan. The school Registered Nurse (RN) will work with parents, health care providers, and our Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (as necessary) to ensure that a health care plan is created to meet the unique needs of each student with special health care issues. 
Contact information for the school RNs can be found on the Student Health Services page. In accordance with ACPS Policy, parents are responsible for providing meals for students with allergies. Meal modifications may be requested. 

Meal Modifications for Medical or Special Dietary Reasons

USDA Regulation 7 CFR Part 15b requires substitutions or modifications in school meals for children whose disabilities restrict their diets. A child with a disability must be provided substitutions in foods when that need is supported by a signed statement from a state-licensed healthcare professional. A recognized medical authority may be a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant.

In Cases of Food Allergy

Generally, children with food allergies or intolerances do not have a disability as defined under either Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or Part B of IDEA, and the school food service may, but is not required to, make food substitutions for them. However, when in the licensed healthcare professional’s assessment, food allergies may result in severe, life-threatening (anaphylactic) reactions or cause significant impact on major bodily functions, the child’s condition would meet the definition of “disability,” and the substitutions prescribed by the state-licensed healthcare professional must be made.

School food services may make food substitutions, at their discretion, for individual children who do not have a disability, but who are medically certified as having a special medical or dietary need. Such determinations are only made on a case-by-case basis. This provision covers those children who have food intolerances or allergies but do not have life-threatening reactions (anaphylactic reactions) when exposed to the food(s) to which they have problems.

Medical Statement for Children with Special Dietary Needs

Each special diet request must be supported by a medical statement explaining the requested food substitution and it must be signed by a recognized medical authority. The Medical Statement must include:
  • Impairment and how it restricts the child's diet,
  • Explanation of what must be done to accommodate the disability,
  • Foods to omit, and
  • Recommended food alternatives.
If we do not receive a medical statement from a recognized medical authority, we will be unable to provide a substitution. Medical statements completed by parents or guardians are not accepted. It is necessary to have only one statement on file. A new statement is not required each year unless the student's needs change.
Students with milk allergies may receive soy milk for no additional cost.

Diabetes Information

Interactive menus with carbohydrate counts are published monthly online and via the smartphone application, SchoolCafe. Manufacturers may change formulations without informing us. We make every effort to provide current information, however, it is always best to ask questions if you have a concern. Contact your school Cafe Manager or Nutrition Coordinator for more information. School cafe managers work closely with the school nurses to ensure that the correct amount and kind of food is served to meet the needs of our students with diabetes in elementary schools. We strongly encourage our older students to speak to our Nutrition Coordinator for nutrition information.
For questions regarding special diets, please contact us at