Yes, it is highly recommended to have a 504 plan in place at school. The best way to protect and ensure that a student who requires a gluten-free diet gets special accommodations at school is to create a 504 plan. Celiac disease is considered a disability, if your child attends a public or charter school they have the right to have a 504 plan that lists accommodations specific to their disability. Accommodations are based on each individual’s unique needs and should be decided with parent and student input. Be prepared to talk to your child’s school nurse, teacher, art teacher and food service department.

A 504 plan can include important things such as:

  • Meals at school
  • Food in the curriculum
  • Art supplies and gluten
  • Celebrations

Steps to a 504-plan infographic:

Example Accommodations:

  • Avoid all foods containing wheat, barley, rye and commercial oats.
  • Contact parents at least seven days before any event/celebration that involves food or food in the curriculum so that a gluten-free alternative can be arranged.
  • Provide parents with labels at least seven days ahead of time of any foods that are going to be served at events/celebrations or used in the curriculum, so that they can be evaluated for gluten content.
  • Use gluten-free alternatives to play dough and papier mâché, and avoid being in an environment where flour is dispersed into the air.
  • Ensure student washes hands with soap and water after art activities or when using food in the curriculum.
  • Ensure student washes hands with soap and water before eating. Note that hand sanitizer will not remove gluten.
  • Ensure student has a seating arrangement during meals that allows adequate space to prevent cross-contact with gluten.
  • Ensure work and eating surfaces are cleaned with water and detergent and kept free of crumbs and debris.
  • Allow student unrestricted use of bathroom when needed.
  • Allow student time off if having had gluten exposure.
  • Allow student extended time to complete assignments or taking tests due to recovery from gluten exposure.

For more detailed information, check out our new ROCK School Packet which provides you with the necessary tools to help you advocate for your child’s needs and navigate the school environment, including comprehensive information on:

  • Steps to a 504 plan
  • School meals
  • Packed lunches
  • Celebrations
  • Art supplies and food in the curriculum
  • Sample letters for teachers and food service staff

Download your FREE ROCK School Packet

Visit our Raising Our Celiac Kids page for much more!

Reviewed October 21, 2022.