Feb 21st, 2024

Epi-Pens in Schools: Mandated Information for Teachers

In 2014, to address the possibility of anaphylactic symptoms in school, New York authorized school districts, BOCES, and other schools in New York State to maintain quantities of medication, in the form of epinephrine auto-injectors (“epi-pens”), on-site in its school buildings for use during an emergency, even if the individual suffering from the allergic reaction had no previous history of severe allergic reaction. It authorized non-medical personnel, including any person employed by a school district, BOCES, or other school in New York State, to administer the epi-pen in the event of an emergency, regardless of a specific healthcare provider order.

Now, effective September 15, 2023, those schools and BOCES which maintain epi-pens on site are required to provide all teachers with written informational material, created and approved by the New York State Health Commissioner, regarding the use of the epi-pen. (N.Y. Education Law §921-a)

The Board of Regents recently adopted an emergency amendment to Section 136.6 of the Commissioner’s Regulations consistent with this requirement, anticipated to become permanent on May1, 2024. This regulation is currently effective and intended to promote awareness of epinephrine auto-injectors among the largest portion of school employees, the teachers. The current informational materials approved by the Commissioner of Health are available at https://www.schoolhealthny.com/epinephrine.

Section 921-a does not mandate that schools and BOCES maintain a stock of epi-pens on site. However, if it is decided that such will be permitted, Section 136.6 of the Commissioner’s Regulations sets forth the requirements to do so, including adoption of a Board of Education policy consistent with New York’s Education and Public Health laws. To ensure effective administration of epinephrine within a school building, it is essential to consider various factors. These include the anticipated number of students, staff, and other individuals regularly present or reasonably expected within the facility. Additionally, an assessment of the facility's physical layout is crucial. This assessment involves examining aspects such as the location of stairways and elevators, the number of floors in the facility, the positioning of classrooms, and other areas where significant gatherings may occur. Any distinctive design features of the facility must be taken into account to establish comprehensive and accessible protocols for the administration of epinephrine in emergency situations.

Most importantly, school personnel must be trained by a registered professional nurse, a nurse practitioner, a physician, or a physician assistant in the emergency use of an epi-pen. For more information about this article, please contact Thomas Barrett at tbarrett@ferrarafirm.com or 315-437-7600.


Thomas F. Barrett

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