Allergy/Asthma Information Association

Establishing an Anaphylaxis Policy in your School

Every Canadian school needs an anaphylaxis management policy! At-risk children (whose numbers are increasing) must be able to learn in a secure and supportive environment. Education of caregivers can make a world of difference, leading to an improved quality of life for allergic students and a reduction in the number of preventable deaths. School personnel can help reduce exposure to allergens, recognize the signs of a reaction and make sure that appropriate treatment is promptly delivered.

The ideal is to have consistent province-wide school policies throughout Canada. Each school should also have measures in place that ensure ongoing accountability and responsibility for the functioning of the various elements of the policy. Whether or not school policies are legally required by the particular province or territory, individual schools can and should take immediate steps to establish a policy if they have not already done so.

School anaphylaxis policies are a delicate balance of rights, risk management measures and responsibilities borne by various stakeholders, including parents, students, administrators, teachers and support staff. Policies need to be sufficiently flexible to deal with a wide variety of allergies and allergic conditions and they need to be broad enough to use in schools of different sizes, physical layouts and grade levels. Everyone who comes in contact with at-risk children has a role to play and they should all be aware of the policy. This includes lunch program monitors, bus drivers and parent volunteers.

At minimum, all anaphylaxis school policies should include the following elements:

A list of resources is appended; it includes the policies in place in some provinces. In addition, individual schools need to consider:

Getting Started

If your school is in a province or school district that has mandated a policy, you should begin by implementing that policy. There may still be work to be done – once the required policy elements are in place, then the school can proceed to identify gaps, special circumstances, and particular needs of the individual school. Keep in mind the need for ongoing accountability – a policy that fizzles is not much use. If it is to be effective over the long term it needs to become part of the fabric of the school and everyone must be aware of it and committed to it.

If there is no provincial or board format required, then we recommend that you proceed as follows:

Mary Allen, August 2008

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