A bill that allows trained school employees to administer EpiPens to students who suffer from severe allergic reactions was officially signed into law on Monday.
Gov. Dannel Malloy held a ceremony at Weston High School alongside state Public Health Commissioner Jewel Mullen, state Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, lawmakers and advocates.
"Many students suffer from severe allergies, and it can be difficult for families, particularly those of limited resources, to know the severity of a student's allergies before an attack occurs," said Malloy. "It is common sense public policy to ensure that any student suffering a life-threatening allergic reaction at school can receive emergency first aid."
The bill requires schools to train qualified employees to administer epinephrine in cartridge injectors to any student having an allergic reaction, even if it's for the first time. This, if the school nurse is absent or unable to help.
It also requires the state board of education to adopt regulations about the conditions and procedures regarding the use of EpiPens.
"Over the past three and a half years, we have seen historic investment in our education system, school safety, and student services," said Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman. "This is another important step in protecting the health and well-being of our young people."
School officials called EpiPens life-saving devices that should be available to any student in need of emergency aid.
"This legislation increases health and safety measures in Connecticut's public schools to protect students while they are in our care," said Pryor. "It establishes the requirements for policies and procedures to follow when a student suffers a life-threatening allergic reaction, even if he or she has never experienced one before.
Though signed on Monday, the law actually took effect on July 1. Before its passage, state laws made provisions for the administration of medication in schools by unlicensed personnel to only students who had prior written authorization.
With the help of the School Nurse Advisory Council, the Departments of Education and Public Health will develop an annual training program regarding emergency first aid to students. State officials said the task should be completed by Dec. 2014.
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