Accomodating students with special needs
Food service staff are not required to and do not generally assist with or supervise the eating of the food. The school food service should not modify any student’s meal without clear, written documentation received from a recognized medical authority.Parent’s notes or telephone calls are not adequate documentation of the need for a special diet.Schools are not required to prepare separate meals for every student with a special diet modification.The school can provide reasonable options for parents and students depending upon the special dietary need.
If there is no medical statement on file that requires substitution of juice, offering juice or another beverage for these students is the school’s choice. If it is not, a food may have to be substituted so the meal is reimbursable.Schools may not add any extra charge to the families.The medical statement allows the student’s meal to be claimed for reimbursement even when it does not meet program requirements.Required information includes: In Iowa, the medical statement for a student without disabilities may be signed by the following “recognized medical authorities”: licensed physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, registered dietitian, and doctor of osteopathy.
If special diet modifications are part of an Individualized Education Program, the school is required to comply with those modifications. This MB provides clarification to child nutrition program (CNP) sponsors on the process, requirements, options, and resources for accommodating children, with and without disabilities, who have special dietary needs.