This letter has seen many versions. The original was made over 3 years ago and was a combination of letters found online and my own words added in to it. Every year I edit the letter to suit our needs. Please feel free to use it for your school.
(Reposting on your own website without permission is not cool 😉 )
Along with this letter I usually print off a few informational leaflets about Coeliac / Celiac, most Celiac societies have things ready to be printed especially for schools, get one that suits you.
To: Teacher, Principal, School nurse
Dear Ms XX and Mr XX,
Our daughter/son is very excited to start school in Ms XXX class in X school. I believe we have completed all the required forms and paperwork. You will notice in the health forms, that she has been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease. Coeliac Disease is an autoimmune disease that is triggered by ingesting gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley (malt), rye and sometimes oats.
Our daughter is usually very healthy, but she must manage Coeliac Disease with a strict adherence to a gluten-free diet. It is very important to her health that she remains gluten free.
Since she has not yet started at your school, we are not familiar with the procedures for activities and snack time in your class. I am providing this information to you in order for our daughter to avoid any possible contact with gluten.
We will provide our daughter with a gluten-free snack and lunch every day. She is aware of her condition, and has been instructed not to trade snacks or eat any other food without first confirming with an adult that it is gluten-free. However, an adult will need to keep a close eye on XXX and other children to make sure no food sharing takes place. She should also avoid any contact with other classmates’ snacks/food, or crumbs of snacks, that contain gluten.
When helping the children at snack time it is important to keep a few things in mind.
Please have XXX wash her hands before eating or use the wet wipes from her bag.
Keep XXX eating area free from crumbs or unsafe foods to lessen the chance of cross contamination. Wipe her area down with a wet wipe before letting her open her food.
When helping children with food, help XXX first with clean, washed hands and before touching other gluten containing food.
If XXX asks for help after you have assisted others with gluten containing foods, please either re wash your hands or instruct her verbally instead of helping with your hands.
In addition to snacks, our daughter should also avoid contact with craft products that contain gluten. Of most concern to me is play dough, pasta, hay/straw, finger paints and papier maché, since they are products that almost always contain wheat and/or are likely to get under her fingernails. Other products that may contain wheat are glue, paint, and ink. To be clear, our daughter/son does not get a reaction just from touching gluten, however if it gets on her hands and fingers it could be transferred to her mouth.
I would be happy to review the ingredients of any craft products in the classroom to determine if they do contain gluten. If they do, I will be happy to provide a suitable substitution.
If our daughter does accidentally come into contact with gluten at school, I ask that you immediately have her wash her hands thoroughly. She does not have an allergic response, such as anaphylaxis, so no medicine or medical attention is required. I would simply request that you make me aware of the contact with the gluten (through a note sent home with her and/or a phone call/email) so that I can monitor her health, and so that we can learn how to avoid it in the future.
Gluten is not a bacteria and as such cannot be killed; you can only wash it off or wipe it away. Washing and rinsing well is the best way to remove gluten. Cleaning is best done with a water and vinegar solution.
If XXX ingests gluten (even a very small amount) she will suffer from any or all of the following;
- Stomach cramps
- Behaviour issues / temper tantrums / uncontrollable crying
- Extreme tiredness
- Mouth ulcers / blisters
There are up to 300 symptoms associated with coeliac disease, so please report anything unusual to us (the parents). Symptoms can be instant or develop several hours later. The effects of contamination usually last a for a few days.
In our previous school there were no birthday cakes allowed, instead a treat bag was allowed to be sent home with the children at the end of the day, this, for us was obviously ideal. If you could please make me aware of your schools birthday cake / treat policy, I can make sure that XXX has a suitable substitute on those days that there are celebrations. Please make me aware of this a few days in advance.
For your information, I have enclosed documents that provide detailed information about Coeliac Disease. Please feel free to call or email me anytime with any questions or concerns.
There are great resources and information on the internet,
http://www.csaceliacs.info/ (there is a whole section covering school information under the children’s menu)
Parent name and contact details