Policy for Accommodating Children with Special Dietary Needs

  • Modifications and substitutions to the regular meal will be made for children who are unable to eat school meals because of their disabilities when the need is certified by a licensed physician.

    The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504 (Section 504) and the American Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 provide regulatory guidance which defines a disability as any physiological disorder or conditions, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting the body’s systems or any mental or psychological disorder which affects one of the major life activities. Major life activities include the following: bending, breathing, caring for oneself, communicating, concentrating, eating, hearing, learning, lifting, major bodily functions, performing manual tasks, reading, seeing, sleeping, speaking, standing, thinking, walking, and working. Major bodily functions include, but are not limited to, the following: functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

Requirements To Make Accommodations

  • The Texas Department of Agriculture requires that the school nutrition program (SNP) must provide reasonable accommodations for reimbursable meals at no additional charge, snacks, and a la carte sales when (1) a student’s disability restricts his/her diet and (2) the disability is supported by a medical statement signed by a medical authority that is licensed by the State to write medical prescriptions or meal accommodation requirement in a student’s individualized education program (IEP) as authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Action (IDEA) or the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504 (Section 504).

    Before any accommodations can be made, the following must be completed by a licensed physician on the CFISD Student Diet Modification Form:

    1. The Medical Diagnosis that relates to the nature of the child’s disability
    2. The reason or major life activities affected by the diagnosis
      1. See above for Section 504 definition of “major life activities.”
    3. Foods to be omitted if necessary
    4. Accommodations needed
      1. Allergen Free Menu: Gluten, Milk, Egg, Soy, Wheat free
               View the current allergen-free menu.
        1. If a student must omit MILK or EGGS as an ingredient, SOY as a minor ingredient, WHEAT, or has MULTIPLE FOOD ALLERGIES, we must provide them with the Allergen Free Pre-packaged meal in order to accommodate them to receive meals in the cafeteria. If the Doctor/Parent does not want the student to get meals from the allergen free menu, we will not be able to accommodate the food allergy.
        2. This pre-packaged allergen free lunch is intended for students with the above documented allergies (milk and egg as ingredients, soy as a minor ingredient, wheat or multiple food allergies) and must be ordered by a physician/medical authority.
      2. April 2024 - Allergen Free Menu
      3. April 2024 - Allergen Free Menu
      4. Nut Free Foods
      5. Seafood Free Foods
      6. Soy Milk
      7. Milk Substitution: Soy milk will be available to all students at all campuses. Juice is not an acceptable milk substitution, so potable water will also be made available to all students.
      8. Other needs as prescribed by the licensed physician.
      9. Dysphagia Meals

How to request Accommodations for Students

    1. Get a copy of the Student Diet Modification Form. This form may be found on the CFISD.net website under Nutrition Services/Special Diet Accommodations or requested from the school nurse.
    2. Have a licensed physician complete and sign the Student Diet Modification Form.
    3. Return the form to your school nurse.
    4. The nurse will send the form to the Nutrition Services Department Dietitian who will process the form and arrange for accommodations necessary.

    Incomplete forms or forms missing information will take longer to process. Nutrition Services will not be able to fully accommodate needed modifications without all the above information included. It is recommended an alternate lunch be sent from home until a confirmation email has been received by the parent/guardian that the form has been processed and the accommodations needed have been placed on the student’s account.

Receiving And Maintaining Student Diet Modification Forms

  • All Student Diet Modification Forms should be sent directly to the school nurse. The school nurse will send the forms to the Nutrition Services Registered Dietitian who will make a note explaining accommodations needed on the student’s account that will appear at the Point of Sale.

    The Nutrition Services Registered Dietitian will send out an email confirmation to the email address provided on the form stating the form has been received and confirming what accommodations will be made.

    **Please allow two weeks for processing once form has been submitted to your school nurse.**

    The Nutrition Services Department can:

    1. Restrict specific menu items based on completion of the Student Diet Modification Form that to the best of our knowledge contain the allergen to be omitted.
    2. Provide an Allergy Friendly meal if medically necessary and doctor requests on Student Diet Modification Form.
    3. Provide a Dysphagia Pre-Packaged meal based on doctor’s orders.
    4. Adjust modifications when updated Doctor’s orders are received.

    The Nutrition Services Department cannot:

    1. Interpret, revise, or change a doctor’s order.
    2. Provide dietary accommodations for students without a disability.
    3. Provide dietary accommodations for students without a completed Student Diet Modification Form.

    Notes written by parents requesting a diet modification are not approved forms of documentation and will not be considered for modification.

Changes To Existing Diet Modifications

  • Changes must be documented in writing by a licensed physician to protect the student and minimize misunderstandings. Documented changes must go to the school nurse, and then will be sent to the Nutrition Services Registered Dietitian who will make the changes in the student’s account.

    New Student Diet Modification forms DO NOT need to be submitted each school year UNLESS THERE ARE ANY CHANGES.

Non-Medical Dietary Preference Requests

  • We are not able to accommodate students for non-medical nutrition preferences with individual diet plans. We do provide the following information that may be helpful when making school meal choices. Please see additional information regarding our menus below:

    1. Nutrition Analysis is available on School Café. You may view all menu items, nutrient analysis, and allergy information.
    2. Meatless Options: The menus do offer some vegetarian, or meatless, entrée options. Each school has signage which lists the meatless entree options we offer daily. These include:
      1. Whole Grain Cereals, WOWBbutter Lunch Box (Elementary Only) and Hummus Lunch Box, Yogurt Lunch Box
        1. Our Danimals Yogurt DOES NOT contain gelatin
    3. Pork Items: The following items contain Pork:
      1. All Breakfast Kolaches, Breakfast Sausage Biscuit, Breakfast Sausage and Cheese English Muffin, Breakfast Sausage & Cheese Croissant, and Pepperoni.
    4. Our menu items that contain Chorizo Turkey Sausage Crumbles, Bacon, and Turkey Ham are all Turkey and contain no pork.

    IMPORTANT: Our menus are subject to change and product reformulation may occur at any time and may not be known by the Nutrition Services Department. Allergen information posted is based on information that Nutrition Services currently has on file. Allergen information is subject to change based on changes from manufacturers. In addition, substitute products may be delivered due to product availability. We will do our best to update and maintain current product information on our menus and School Cafe, but if there are any questions about a product, please contact the Food Production Center. Special circumstances will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Dysphagia Diet

  • Students with disabilities who require changes to the basic meal are required to provide a completed Student Diet Modification Form signed by a licensed physician. The following texture modifications are available and will be prepared in advance in the Food Production central kitchen according to the International Dysphagia Diet:

    1. Pureed
    2. Minced & Moist
    3. Soft & Bite Sized

    Thickener for liquids can be provided if requested on the Student Diet Modification Form signed by a licensed physician.

    Supplements or formula can be provided with a doctor’s order. A Student Diet Modification Form must be on file since we are making modifications to the meal pattern.

    When nutrition services are required under a child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), school officials must ensure that the Food Service Registered Dietitian is involved early in decisions regarding special meals.

    If accommodations need to be made for non-life-threatening situations for students in the special education program, these accommodations must be included in the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

Restrictions On Accounts

  • We cannot deny a student purchase of any item available on the menu if the student has adequate funds unless there is a valid note from the parent/guardian on file in the cafeteria.

    If a parent/guardian wishes to place any restriction on his/her student(s) account(s), an email or a letter from the parent/guardian must be on file with the cafeteria Manager. These restrictions are separate from the diet modifications due to the medical conditions listed above. They include:

    • Restricting purchase of a reimbursable breakfast and/or lunch. We do not restrict specific menu item purchases unless requested by a physician and accompanied by a Student Diet Modification form.
    • Restricting a la carte purchases (days, quantity, debit, or cash). We do not restrict specific a la carte purchases unless requested by a physician and accompanied by a Student Diet Modification form.
    • Any restrictions involving purchasing power (cash only, no debit use, etc.).

    Managers should encourage parents to visit School Café and make these restrictions to the student account whenever possible.