Queen’s reviews allergy procedures

University District

University begins assessment of practices surrounding severe food allergies following student death

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Queen’s has begun an extensive review of its existing procedures to ensure that students on campus with allergies are given the right accommodations.

This September, first-year student Andrea Mariano passed away due to an anaphylactic reaction.

According to a Maclean’s report, Mariano had consumed a smoothie from the Booster Juice on campus. She was deathly allergic to peanuts and allergic to dairy.

Following her death, Principal Daniel Woolf announced a full review of University practices.

According to Ann Tierney, vice-provost and dean of student affairs, allergy practices and support systems on campus have evolved and strengthened over time. 

“This review of practices and procedures on campus will ensure continuous improvement to services for students with severe allergies,” Tierney told The Journal via email.

Tierney stated that all incoming students living in residence are made aware of the protocols in place and are encouraged to disclose any food-related allergies they have to Residences and Hospitality Services, so accommodations can be made.

Queen’s already has some accommodations in place. Dining halls on campus, for example, use ingredient cards at food stations to let students with severe allergies check whether their meal complies with their dietary restrictions.

The review will include consultations with students, parents, medical experts, food service providers and Food Allergy Canada.

Two open meetings have been scheduled for Nov. 18 and Jan. 26.

The committee will be chaired by Tierney and includes a mix of students, faculty and staff.

“We want to hear from students and community members on how the university can respond to the needs of students with severe allergies and work with them to assist them in managing their allergy-related health concerns,” Tierney wrote.

The committee will focus their efforts on three areas: training and emergency response; residence and campus-wide food service policies and practices; and “communication, education, awareness programming, health management and outreach,” on campus.

To ensure that new procedures are up-to-date, the committee will turn to other post-secondary institutions to study their practices.

The task force hopes to complete their report by Spring 2016. At that point, they’ll present their findings to Principal Woolf.

“The health and wellness of students is our primary concern, and we want to continue to improve services for students and hear from those directly affected by severe allergies, as well as from experts in the field,” Tierney wrote.

The open meetings will take place on Wednesday Nov. 18, at 5 p.m. in the Kinesiology Building and on Tuesday Jan. 26, 2016 at 1 p.m. in Gordon Hall.

 

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