The School Department was lacking a defined plan for protecting students with life-threatening allergies ranging from peanuts to bee venom to latex.
It has a plan now.
“It’s something that’s coming up more and more with children being diagnosed with different allergies, and not just to peanuts,” said School Committee member Paul Magliocchetti. “We’re making sure we have the right policies and procedures in place in the event something happens to a student.”
The new policy, called Guidelines for Managing Students with Life Threatening Allergies, was created by school physician Dr. John Maddox and school staff members. The policy was approved by the School Committee last week.
Superintendent James Scully recommended approval of the plan. It includes guidelines to assist staff, students and parents/guardians in dealing with life-threatening allergies.
Students with such allergies will be designated in the student information system, so staff will be aware of their allergy while maintaining confidentiality.
Some students are authorized to carry their own EpiPens, but all other EpiPens will be stored in the nurse’s office, secure but not locked, so that school personnel can access them.
Students will be encouraged not to trade food with other students. Those with food allergies will be asked to take other precautions as well, such as notifying their teacher or other school personnel in the event they eat something that might contain an ingredient they are allergic to.
Staff members who work with students with allergies, including school bus drivers, will be trained in what to look out for in the event of an allergic reaction and how to respond appropriately.
Parents and guardians will be asked to be involved in their child’s care as well, including notifying the school of any particular allergy and how to treat it along with documentation from their child’s physician. They will also be encouraged to discuss appropriate strategies when it comes to their child taking a field trip, which they will be encouraged to participate in or have a designated and trained school staff member attend in their place.