VICTORIA – B.C. school districts are required to develop and implement anaphylaxis policies that meet new, rigorous provincial standards, Education Minister Shirley Bond said today.
“Children with life-threatening allergies need to be safe in B.C. schools, and our direction today is for all school districts to take immediate steps to ensure all students are protected,” said Bond. “Boards of education will now be required to have school-based anaphylaxis policies and practices that meet rigorous provincial standards.”
The Ministry of Education led a comprehensive consultation process with major stakeholders, including Anaphylaxis Canada, the Allergy/Asthma Information Association, the BCMA, health authorities, health officers, educators, trustees and parents over the summer to develop an Anaphylaxis Child Health and Safety Framework.
The framework will direct districts as they develop school-based policies for managing anaphylaxis in schools. The ministry, in consultation with members of the committee, will develop additional guidelines for schools and districts in the areas of training, monitoring and reporting. Every school district will be required to develop anaphylaxis policies and implement best practices, including:
· Providing a definition of anaphylaxis.
· Identifying individuals at risk.
· Encouraging the use of Medi-Alert identification.
· Emergency procedure plans.
· Record keeping.
· Storage and administration of medication.
· Incident debriefing.
· Development of allergy awareness, prevention and avoidance strategies.
· Training strategy.
· Defined roles and responsibilities.
· Education to create an allergy-aware school community.
“We made a commitment to ensure a framework was in place in September and we are delivering on that promise,” said Bond. “I am signing a ministerial order that has the force of law, to provide a rapid response to ensure schools are prepared to deal with an emergency situation involving a student with a life-threatening allergy.”
“I appreciated the opportunity to participate in the development of a framework for anaphylaxis policies in B.C. schools,” said Katharine Matthews, parent and Provincial Anaphylaxis Advisory Committee Member. “This is an important step in protecting children with life-threatening allergies in the ongoing collective process toward allergy awareness.”
“Families who have a child with severe allergies must have confidence that their schools are prepared to deal with an anaphylactic emergency,” said Les Dukowski, president of the Principals and Vice Principals Association. “I commend the Province for its leadership on developing provincial standards to ensure all schools throughout the province are prepared.”
Boards of education will be responsible for ensuring each school in the district has a school-based policy for monitoring and reporting anaphylaxis emergencies. Boards will be required to report this information in their annual achievement contracts with the Ministry of Education. Superintendents of achievement will work with districts to ensure development of policies begins immediately.
Public Affairs Bureau
Ministry of Education
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