January 24, 2012
In a continuing effort to ensure the health and welfare of students, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced that it will begin to stock Epi-pens, which are used to stop cases of anaphylaxis shock in students with allergies at all schools in the district, pending approval by the Board of Education at this week’s January 25th board meeting.
If approved, CPS will have the authorization to purchase Epi-pens in a quantity sufficient to provide between four and six of the devices per school. CPS is taking the action to streamline the current protocols for the administration of Epi-pens and other authorized medication to District students.
“We must prepare our schools to deal with crisis situations to ensure the safety of our students who may face potentially a life-threatening situation because of anaphylaxis shock and, pending board approval, our schools will now have the necessary medication available at their immediate disposal to do so,” said CPS Chief Executive Officer, Jean-Claude Brizard.
Stocking schools with Epi-pens will bring the District into compliance with a state law passed last year that allows Districts and their schools to stock Epi-pens. The District’s Office of Special Education and Supports will develop plans to purchase and distribute the pens to schools. The approximate purchase cost is expected to be about $195,000. The devices are expected to be in schools no later than the start of the 2012-13 school year. An estimated 4,000 CPS students have diagnosed allergies.
The new policy would also allow students to carry and self-administer Epi-pens to treat life-threatening allergies with the written approval of a parent or guardian. Similarly, under the policy students may carry and self-administer their own asthma inhalers when authorized in writing by a parent or guardian and diabetes testing kits and insulin when authorized in writing by a health care provider and a parent or guardian.
The policy also addresses protocols and requirements for allowing student access to over-the-counter (OTC) medication. In these cases, students need to only have authorization from a parent or guardian, not that of a medical provider. Students are not allowed by this policy to carry OTC medication during school hours.
The policy also sets medication-related training requirements for CPS staff regarding Epi-pens. At least every two years, school personnel who work with students shall complete an in-service training program on the management and prevention of allergic reactions by students.
Training is also required under the policy for school staff related to Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). At least once every two years, certified school personnel and administrators must complete an in-service training program on current best practices regarding the identification and treatment of ADHD.
The policy also requires training for school staff in the areas of diabetes management and asthma.
Chicago Public Schools serves 405,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.