WESTON, Conn. – Gov. Dannel P. Malloy held a ceremonial bill-signing ceremony at Weston High School on Monday to draw attention to a new state law that allows trained school employees to use EpiPens to give life-saving epinephrine to students experiencing a serious first-time allergic reaction.
“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. This legislation sets in motion programs at Connecticut schools that are meant to save lives.”
The law requires schools to appoint and train school employees in administering emergency EpiPens to students having a first-time allergic reaction when the school nurse is unavailable. It also requires that the State Board of Education put regulations in place for the storage and provision of epinephrine by school employees.
Malloy was joined at the ceremony by state Public Health Commissioner Jewel Mullen, state Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, lawmakers and advocates for the bill.
P.A. 14-176, An Act Concerning the Storage and Administration of Epinephrine at Public Schools went into effect July 1. Before the signing of this new legislation, school personnel could only administer medication to students who had written authorization.
“An EpiPen is a life-saving device that should be available to any student in need of emergency first aid for a life threatening allergic reaction,” said Pryor. “This legislation increases health and safety measures in Connecticut’s public schools to protect students while they are in our care.
“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. With Governor Malloy’s signing of this bill, parents and students can be assured that in addition to school nurses, teachers, and other qualified school personnel will have the training and legal authority necessary to act in a medical emergency."
The Departments of Education and Public Health will also jointly develop an annual emergency first aid training program by December, as required by the new law.