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ADMINISTRATIVE LETTER NO: 4

 

POLICY CODE: JLCD

 

TO:                 Superintendents of Schools

 

FROM:           Susan Gendron, Commissioner, Maine Department of Education

 

DATE:            July 20, 2004

 

SUBJECT:     Public Law Chapter 531, “An Act to Authorize Certain School Children to Carry Emergency Medication on Their Person”

 

Please send on to principals and school nurses.

 

            Public Law Chapter 531, ‘”An Act to Authorize Certain School Children to Carry Emergency Medication on Their Person” will go into effect July 30, 2004.  This new legislation requires that public and approved private schools adopt school policy that allows students to carry and self-administer emergency medications, specifically asthma inhalers and epinephrine auto-injectors.   Epinephrine auto-injectors are used as an immediate emergency response to a potentially severe allergic reaction (e.g. allergy to insect bites or to peanuts).

 

            There are several caveats to this mandate.  Students must be allowed to carry and self-administer these medications under the following conditions:

1.      There is prior written approval from the student’s health care provider indicating that the student has the knowledge and the skills to safely possess and use an asthma inhaler or an epinephrine auto-injector.

2.      There is prior written approval (for minor students) from the student’s parent or guardian.

3.      The student demonstrates to the school nurse, appropriate technique to ensure proper and effective use of an asthma inhaler or an epinephrine auto-injector.

 

            The Maine Department of Education, in collaboration with the AH! Asthma Health of MaineHealth, the Maine Asthma Program of the Bureau of Health, and the American Lung Association of Maine, will prepare materials to assist school nurses in assessment and documentation of authorization.  The Maine School Asthma Care Plan, a standardized form to be completed by the student’s health provider, includes authorization signatures for the health provider, parent/guardian and school nurse and should be completed for all students with asthma.  The form can be accessed on the Maine Department of Education’s School Health Manual web site.

 

            For additional information, please contact DeEtte Hall, School Nurse Consultant, Department of Education at 624-6688 or deette.hall@maine.gov.