November 6, 2006
November 7, 2006)
LAW REGARDING THE MANAGEMENT OF FOOD ALLERGIES IN CONNECTICUT SCHOOLS
By: Soncia Coleman, Associate Legislative Analyst
You asked for a summary of state laws, regulations, and guidelines addressing the management of students' food allergies in Connecticut schools.
During the 2005 session, the legislature adopted Public Act 05-104, An Act Concerning Food Allergies and the Prevention of Life Threatening Incidents in School. This law required the State Department of Education (SDE) to develop guidelines for the management of students with life-threatening food allergies by January 1, 2006. It also required each local and regional board of education to implement a plan based on these guidelines for the management of students with life-threatening food allergies enrolled in the schools under its jurisdiction by July 1, 2006. The plans had to include the development of an individualized health care plan for every student with life-threatening food allergies.
In accordance with the law, SDE has issued detailed guidelines for managing life-threatening food allergies in schools. The guidelines include information on food allergies and anaphylaxis, state and federal legislation, procedural guidelines, and developing individual health care plans. They also provide information on developing a district food allergy plan and identify the plan components. According to the guidelines, the district plan should include:
1. the rationale for the plan,
2. a commitment to planning and prevention,
3. a collaborative process,
4. a formal process for identifying and developing individualized care plans for students at risk for anaphylaxis,
5. the provisions for education and training,
6. a balance between individual, school and community needs, and
7. fostering normal development.
A copy of the state guidelines is enclosed for your use.
Other relevant laws and regulations deal with the administration of medication, usually via cartridge injector, to students with allergies. State regulations leave the decision whether to allow school personnel to administer medication in schools to local or regional boards of education. If a board decides to allow it, it must do so within the parameters set out in the law and regulations.
By law, a school nurse or, in her absence, any other licensed nurse, the school principal, a teacher, or a licensed physical or occupational therapist employed by a school district may administer medications to students at a school pursuant to the written order of a doctor, advanced practice registered nurse, physician assistant, or dentist and with the written authorization of the child's parent or guardian. The law also allows a paraprofessional to administer medication to a specific student with a life-threatening food allergy if there is written permission from the parent, a written medication order by a legally qualified prescriber, and the school nurse and school medical advisor have approved the plan and provide general supervision to the paraprofessional (CGS § 10-212a).
The law further provides that students with life-threatening allergies cannot be denied access to school transportation solely due to the need to carry a cartridge injector while traveling (CGS § 10-220i).