OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5452 (as amended by House "A")*

AN ACT CONCERNING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE TASK FORCE ON LIFE-THREATENING FOOD ALLERGIES IN SCHOOLS.

SUMMARY

This bill makes several changes to education laws addressing food allergies in schools. It allows any student with a medically diagnosed life-threatening allergic condition to (1) possess, (2) self-administer, or (3) possess and self-administer his or her medication. Correspondingly, the bill requires the State Department of Education (SDE) to adopt implementing regulations.

The bill requires SDE, in conjunction with the Department of Public Health (DPH), to revise, review, and update its guidelines for managing students with life-threatening food allergies and glycogen storage disease. It additionally requires SDE to update its health and physical education curriculum standards and apply for external funding to raise public awareness about food allergies.

The bill requires school transportation carriers to provide related training to all school bus drivers. Finally, the bill extends the protections of the “Good Samaritan” law to cover school bus drivers rendering certain emergency first aid in response to a student's allergic reaction.

The bill also makes technical and conforming changes.

*House Amendment “A” replaces the underlying bill with similar provisions. It removes the requirements on local and regional boards of education to adopt written policies, procedures, and updated curriculum. It allows any student with a medically diagnosed life-threatening allergic condition to possess, self-administer, or possess and self-administer medication. It also adds the provisions regarding school bus driver training and immunity protections.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2018, except the provisions relating to SDE's curriculum revisions and funding applications ( 2) take effect upon passage.

1 — GUIDELINES AND PLANS FOR STUDENTS WITH LIFE-THREATENING FOOD ALLERGIES & GLYCOGEN STORAGE DISEASE

SDE Management Guidelines

Beginning January 1, 2020, the bill requires SDE, in conjunction with DPH, to take certain steps regarding students with life-threatening food allergies and glycogen storage disease. It requires SDE to:

1. revise its management guidelines to include training for the identification and evaluation of such students and protocols that comply with the protections and accommodations under federal law, and

2. biennially review and update, as the SDE commissioner deems necessary, such guidelines and make any updates available to each board of education.

Existing law requires SDE, in conjunction with DPH, to develop and make available to boards of education, management guidelines for students with life-threatening food allergies and glycogen storage disease. Local and regional boards of education must then implement a plan based on SDE's management guidelines, annually attest to its implementation, and make such plan publicly available.

2 — CURRICULUM STANDARDS & PUBLIC AWARENESS

By January 1, 2020, the bill requires SDE to:

1. update its 2006 Healthy and Balanced Living (health and physical education) Curriculum Framework to include life-threatening food allergies;

2. update any culinary arts program or curriculum standards related to the National Family and Consumer Sciences Standards adopted by the State Board of Education to include dietary restrictions, cross-contamination, and allergen identification; and

3. apply for available federal or private funding, in consultation with DPH, to promote public awareness and education about food allergies.

3 — SCHOOL BUS DRIVER TRAINING

By June 30, 2019, the bill requires school transportation carriers to provide training to all school bus drivers, including instruction on (1) identifying the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, (2) administering epinephrine by a cartridge injector (“EpiPen”), (3) notifying emergency personnel, and (4) reporting an incident involving a student's life-threatening allergic reaction. A cartridge injector is an automatic prefilled cartridge injector or similar automatic equipment used to deliver epinephrine in a standard dose for emergency first aid response to allergic reactions. It allows the training to be completed online, provided the online module meets the bill's requirements.

Beginning July 1, 2019, each carrier must provide the training to school bus drivers as follows:

1. following the issuance or renewal of a public passenger endorsement to operate a school bus for carrier employees, and

1. upon the hiring of a school bus driver who is not employed by such carrier (e.g., subcontractor), except a driver who received the training after the most recent issuance or renewal of his or her endorsement is not required to repeat it.

The bill's requirements apply to any (1) local or regional school district, educational institution providing elementary or secondary education or person, firm or corporation under contract to the district or institution engaged in the business of transporting students, or (2) person, firm or corporation engaged in the business of transporting primarily persons under the age of twenty-one years for compensation (i.e., carriers).

4-6 — ADMINISTRATION OF MEDICATION

BOE Written Policies & Procedures ( 4)

The bill requires boards of education to adopt written policies and procedures governing how a student may possess, or possess and self-administer, his or her medication.

Existing law requires boards of education to adopt written policies and procedures governing the administration of medication in their schools, including self-administration by students. The policies and procedures must be approved by the school medical advisor or other qualified licensed physician.

State Board of Education Regulations ( 5)

The bill requires SBE to adopt additional regulations that specify conditions by which a student may possess, or possess and self-administer, his or her medication while attending school and, for students with Epipens or similar devices, to also do so while receiving school transportation services.

Existing law requires the State Board of Education (SBE), in consultation with the DPH commissioner, to adopt regulations that specify conditions by which a student may self-administer his or her medication in school, including students diagnosed with asthma or an allergic condition retaining possession of an inhaler or an EpiPen or similar device. By law, such regulations must require written authorization for self-administration signed by (1) a parent or guardian and (2) an authorized prescriber.

Student Possession & Self-Administration ( 6)

Under the bill, any student with a medically diagnosed life-threatening allergic condition is permitted to possess, self-administer, or possess and self-administer his or her medication. To do so, the bill requires written authorization for self-administration signed by (1) the student's parent or guardian and (2) a qualified medical professional.

Existing law explicitly allows certain students who experience allergic reactions to retain possession of their medication: students diagnosed with asthma and students diagnosed with an allergic condition who require an EpiPen or similar device.

7 — SCHOOL BUS DRIVER IMMUNITY FROM CIVIL DAMAGES

The bill generally immunizes school bus drivers from civil liability that may arise from administering an EpiPen to a student with a medically diagnosed allergic condition requiring treatment on or near a school bus, which may constitute ordinary negligence. The immunity does not apply to acts or omissions by school bus drivers that constitute gross, willful, or wanton negligence.

BACKGROUND

Emergency First Aid Training for Allergic Reactions

By law, SDE and DPH must jointly develop, in consultation with the School Nurse Advisory Council, an annual training program for emergency first aid to students who experience allergic reactions and make it available to local and regional boards of education.

The program must include instruction in:

1. cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR),

2. first aid,

3. food allergies,

4. signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis,

5. prevention and risk-reduction strategies regarding allergic reactions,

6. emergency management and administration of epinephrine, and

7. follow-up and reporting procedures after a student has experienced an allergic reaction.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Education Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

35

Nay

0

(03/23/2018)