Education Law Insights

Are Illinois Schools Required to Stock EpiPens?

Posted by Brian Crowley on September 10, 2012

With guest blogger Darcy Kriha

We have received an unusually large number of calls from school districts over the past few weeks concerning the administration of EpiPens® in schools. The relevant Illinois statute was amended over one year ago, on August 15, 2011. So why the sudden uptick in calls? It turns out that the local media extensively covered a press conference held on August 13 by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan at Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital, urging Illinois school districts to acquire Epinephrine Auto-Injectors (EpiPens®) to administer to students who experience anaphylactic shock at school.

The big question: are schools required to stock EpiPens®? The answer is no – the statute is permissive, not mandatory. We are aware that a handful of school districts decided to obtain extra EpiPens® to administer to students in case of an emergency, even in situations where the student does not have a known allergy. Policy revisions, notice to parents, staff certifications, filling of prescriptions, etc., are all issues that need to be addressed and discussed with counsel if a district chooses to stock EpiPens®.

If you are looking for more information, the Attorney General’s Office website contains a comprehensive and well written summary of the Emergency Epinephrine Act (P.A. 97-0361; 105 ILCS 5/22-30) along with three ‘fact sheets’ directed to parents, physicians, and schools.

Flu Virus Guidance Issued by Department of Public Health

Posted by Brian Crowley on September 5, 2012

With guest blogger Amy Dickerson

The Illinois Department of Public Health recently issued flu virus guidance to the Illinois State Board of Education, as well as various Illinois health agencies, on slowing the spread of flu viruses in K-12 schools. The Department issued this guidance in response to the recent increase in cases of individuals being infected with the H3N2v flu virus in Illinois and other states. The majority of confirmed cases of H3N2v virus reported having direct contact with pigs, mainly at agricultural fairs.

While the Department reports that no outbreaks in schools have been identified to date, the guidance provides schools and other agencies with information to help identify individuals who may be infected with the H3N2v virus and to slow the spread of this and other flu viruses in K-12 schools. The guidance includes recommendations that schools educate teachers and staff on everyday preventive actions, refer students with certain symptoms to their health care providers, encourage students and staff to get the seasonal flu vaccine, and inform parents and guardians on how to protect themselves from the H3N2v virus.