Student Allergies

Students with Disabilities and Special Dietary Needs


All schools participating in a federal school meal program (National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, Special Milk Program, and Afterschool Snack Program) are required to make reasonable accommodations for children who are unable to eat the school meals because of a disability that restricts the diet.

The following outlines North Penn School District, School Nutrition Services process for accommodating students with disabilities and special dietary needs.

  • It is the parent/guardians responsibility to communicate all food allergies to the school nurse. The school nurse provides this confidential information to the Team Leader at each school. The Team Leader records the allergens and creates an alert in the Point

    of Sale system, so that an alert is indicated during each transaction.

  • Food substitutions will be made as required by the child's physician for allergies covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (severe/life-threatening). Foods containing allergens will be avoided and will be replaced with acceptable alternatives either from the planned menu or with acceptable substituted items and planned in conjunction with the parent/physician/registered dietitian.

  • Allergies not covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (not severe/life- threatening) will be accommodated within the framework of the planned menu. Students and families will be provided information to allow them to choose appropriate foods from those served on the planned menu.

  • Menu accommodations will be made upon request and in conjunction with an IEP or related intervention.


North Penn School District, School Nutrition Services will provide modifications for children on a case-by-case basis when requests are supported by a written statement from a state licensed medical authority.


Medical Plan of Care for School Food Service

The Medical Plan of Care for School Food Service may be used to obtain the required information from the licensed medical authority. For this purpose, a state licensed medical authority in Pennsylvania includes a:

  • Physician,

  • Physician assistant,

  • Certified registered nurse practitioner, or

  • Dentist.

  • An explanation of how the child's physical or mental impairment restricts the child's diet;

  • An explanation of what must be done to accommodate the child; and

  • The food or foods to be omitted and recommended alternatives, if appropriate.


Other Special Dietary Needs

School food service staff may make food substitutions for individual children who do not have a medical statement on file. Such determinations are made on a case-by-case basis and all accommodations must be made according to USDA's meal pattern requirements. Schools are encouraged, but not required, to have documentation on file when making menu modifications within the meal pattern.


Special dietary needs and requests, including those related to general health concerns, personal preferences, and moral or religious convictions, are not disabilities and are optional for school food authorities to accommodate. Meal modifications for non-disability reasons are reimbursable provided that these meals adhere to Program regulations.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act

Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008


A person with a disability means any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities or major bodily functions, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. A physical or mental impairment does not need to be life threatening in order to constitute a disability. If it limits a major life activity, it is considered a disability.

Major life activities include, but are not limited to: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. A major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to: functions of the immune system; normal cell growth;

and digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

A child with a disability under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is described as a child evaluated in accordance with IDEA as having one or more of the recognized thirteen disability categories and who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services. The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written statement for a child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with the IDEA and its implementing regulations. When nutrition services are required under a child's IEP, school officials need to ensure that school food service staff is involved early in decisions regarding special meals. If an IEP or 504 plan includes the same information that is required on a medical statement (see section 1, above), then it is not necessary to get a separate medical statement.

School Nutrition Program Contact 

For more information about requesting accommodations to school meals and the meal service for students with disabilities at North Penn School District, please contact:


North Penn School District

School Nutrition Services Coordinator