Severe Allergies in Your Schools

A survey of random teachers made it quickly apparent that many were not aware of the changes made this past September to the School Act, despite all of the attention the changes got on the news.

The changes to the Act are entitled the Anaphylactic Protection Order and the supporting document which has been developed, The BC Anaphylactic and Child Safety Framework - September 2007. Of equal concern is that most teachers are unaware that our District had its own Anaphylaxis Policy, which can be found on its website.

The School Act and its framework, of course, take precedence over District policy and puts the onus of responsibility on the employer and in particular on the principal. This means that teachers need to be aware of these and know which questions to ask their principal. Having an anaphylactic student in your class can be stressful for any teacher. This new framework based on a philosophy of awareness, education and risk reduction should help reduce anxieties and in fact make teachers more confident in protecting students with anaphylaxis. Here are some important questions that you can begin to ask your principal:

  • Does your school have a plan?
  • Have TOCs who will be working with anaphylactic students been made aware and trained in how to administer the anaphylactic students life-saving medicine?
  • Have other school employees been trained in signs, symptoms of anaphylaxis?
  • How is your school community being made aware of anaphylaxis and the part they can play to reduce risks to students in your school?

These are all expectations of the Anaphylactic and Child Safety Framework which is expected to be implemented by January 2008.

School Act Anaphylaxis Protection Order: bced.gov.bc.ca/legislation/schoollaw/e/m232-07.pdf

BC Anaphylactic and Child Safety Framework September 2007: bced.gov.bc.ca/health/bc_anaphylactic_child_safety.pdf

Ontario has made similar changes in their province and has implemented the Sabrina Law which also emphasizes awareness, education and risk reduction. They have developed an online e-workshop designed for teachers and school employees. It takes between 20-30 minutes.

Sabrina Law in Ontario: e-workshop for teachers: eworkshop.on.ca/cfmx/edu/anaphylaxis/

For those needing a refresher every once in a while there are online demonstrations for both the Epipen and the new Twinject that many students are choosing to carry.

Free Training materials: Are available from both the Epipen and the Twinject site, including practice injectors, videos and posters. These can be ordered for your school. They also have online training videos that only take a few minutes to review. Online Epipen Training Video: epipen.ca/EN/howtouseEpi.html

Online Twinject Training Video: twinject.ca/en/stepbystep.php

Presently there is some discrepancy around administering the second dose of the new Twinject. Health Nurses will no longer be teaching this second step and the BCTF is now looking into the details of this decision and any impact this will have on teachers.