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Special Dietary Needs

Meal Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: 

School menus in Poway Unified School District offer choices within food groups, to allow students with special dietary needs (such as food allergies, for example) to select foods from the regular menu that meet their needs.  Families can view allergens and nutrient information on the interactive online menus application.  However, if a student has a disabling medical condition that restricts their diet in a way that cannot be accommodated from the regular menu, reasonable menu substitutions will be made on a case-by-case basis.  Special accommodations can only be made when supported by a written Medical Statement to Request Special Meals and/or Accommodations from a state licensed healthcare professional.  The California Department of Education only permits the following state licensed healthcare professionals to complete and sign the form: licensed physicians, physician assistants, or nurse practitioners.  The form must be completed in its entirety and returned to the student’s school administration office.  The form should be updated by the licensed healthcare professional, as appropriate, to reflect current medical/nutritional needs of the student. 
Note: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act broadened the definition of disability to cover most physical and mental impairments.  A student need not have a life-threatening allergy to be considered a disability.  For more information about what constitutes a disability for the purpose of meal accommodations, please refer to the California Department of Education’s Management Bulletin SNP-02-2017, “Modifications to Accommodate Disabilities in the School Meal Programs.”


Milk Substitutions:

If a state licensed healthcare professional deems a child’s milk allergy or intolerance to be a disability, then the Medical Statement form must be completed and signed by the licensed physician, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner.  Appropriate accommodations will be made on a case-by-case basis (e.g. soy milk, fruit juice, water).
In cases of non-disabling lactose intolerance, a parent/guardian may request lactose-free milk to be provided with meals.  Juice is not an allowable milk substitute for students without disabilities.  To request lactose-free milk for your child, please complete and sign the Parental Request for a Fluid Milk Substitution form, and return it to your child’s school administration office.


Personal Preferences: 
Unfortunately, Poway Unified School District is unable to provide special diets based on personal preferences or religious convictions.  To meet the needs of a diverse student population, we offer a variety of menu choices every day.  By offering choices (protein, grain, fruit, vegetable, and milk), each child can customize a meal that suits his or her appetite and food preferences.  Menu details can be viewed on the interactive online menus application.