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Allergy act comes into effect

Bill 201 Protection of Students with Life-Threatening Allergies came into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

On Jan. 1, 2020, Bill 201 Protection of Students with Life-Threatening Allergies came into effect. The act will have a direct impact on all schools across Alberta. 

The act means that every school will require to have, at minimum, one epinephrine auto-injector (often referred to as EpiPen) on site at all times. The act applies to public and separate school divisions, Francophone regional authorities, private schools and charter schools, according to a letter sent to all superintendents on Dec. 19, 2019, from Curtis Clarke, Deputy Minister of Education.  

During the Jan. 15 St. Paul Education Regional Division (SPERD) meeting, Superintendent Glen Brodziak noted that the school division already had a policy in place, which mostly covered the same things as the new act, other than the epinephrine auto-injector portion. 

“The act contains guidance and requirements for supporting students with life-threatening allergies at school, such as the establishment of an anaphylaxis policy, including mandatory regular training o dealing with life-threatening allergies for all employees, risk reduction plans, maintaining files with medical information for each student who has an anaphylactic allergy, maintaining a minimum of one epinephrine auto-injector in each school for emergency use and a section on emergency administration of medication,” reads the letter from Clarke. 

Authorized employees from each school will have to deal directly with a pharmacist to purchase epinephrine auto-injector.  

“School authorities and schools are expected to work with local pharmacies to acquire epinephrine auto-injector(s) for emergency use in schools,” reads the letter.  

When discussing the new regulations during Wednesday’s meeting, it was noted that the schools are responsible for the cost of the epinephrine auto-injectors, which cost about $100 each. Some schools, specifically K-12 schools or schools that include elementary and junior high students, will require two epinephrine auto-injectors on site due to the physical size difference of children attending the school. 

Expiration dates on the epinephrine auto-injectors will also have to be monitored.  

It was also noted that children who are anaphylactic should already have their own epinephrine auto-injector on site. 

Janice Huser

About the Author: Janice Huser

Janice Huser has been with the St. Paul Journal since 2006. She is a graduate of the SAIT print media journalism program, is originally from St. Paul and has a passion for photography.
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