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October News Briefs

Food Allergy Awareness

Due to incidences of allergic reactions by student consumers, JJ’s has kept track of potential allergy-inducing ingredients to ensure safety for its consumers. The most recent additions to the list of allergenic foods include beef, squid, shellfish, chicken, and walnuts. These foods have been publicized on the bulletin board in front of the entrance to the cafeteria, while meals that include allergenic foods are distinctly marked on the menu screen. JJ’s has also completely banned foods such as peanuts that are known to cause severe allergic reactions.

“Although there are very few allergic reactions at SIS, [JJ’s] tries to be prepared for all cases,” said Suyeon Kwon, JJ’s nutritionist. “Since there are certain foods that could possibly flare allergic reactions, it is crucial that we find a good balance between meals that are healthy and safe for students and meals that students enjoy eating.”

According to principal James Gerhard, in addition to regulations on JJ’s catering, the high school is now working to encourage the safe use of peanuts and nut products to ensure the safety of elementary school students with severe nut allergies. With the request of Art DeFilippo, elementary school principal, the administrative leadership team is working to raise awareness of these allergies and would like students to restrain from bringing nut-related products to school.

Updated Emergency Protocol

The administrative leadership team, under the direction of Dr. Gerhard, implemented a new stay-in-place drill in the case of emergencies when class cannot be continued, but students must remain at school. This modification is part of an effort for safer and more efficient alternatives to the current policies, while covering a wider variety of possible emergencies.

The drill focuses on redirecting students and staff to certain locations, depending on grade level. As part of the new plan, the elementary school will be redirected to the auditorium, the middle school to Tiger Gym 1, freshmen to the band room, and the rest of the high school to Tiger Gym 2, where students will remain until the school can contact parents and arrange safe transportation. The updated emergency protocol also includes a critical incident policy, preparing counselors to help students cope with trauma during emergencies.

“Changes are made [to the evacuation policy] when there is a way to make things better for the students, to make sure they know that they are safe,” Dr. Gerhard said. “We want parents to know that when students come to school, their children are in a safe place. I think the new fire drills have been a really good example of how effective and efficient the changed protocol is. I was really impressed with how everyone got to the field in under five minutes.”

The fire drill has also changed this year to include a siren, bell, and message stating, “a fire [has] been detected” for clearer expression to students and teachers. After a sound test, a practice drill took place for the new fire drill on Sep. 21. These drills helped prepare the staff and students to move promptly so that no one was hurt when a small fire occurred during on Oct. 6 in the parking lot area. According to Sean Syverson, English teacher, the fire drill implemented during this incident was recognized by teachers as the most prompt and orderly drill ever conducted.