A recent law signed into effect by President Barack Obama won’t affect Juneau much, even though it offers financial incentives to states with school districts that stay prepared for unexpected emergencies related to severe asthma attacks and allergic reactions.
The Juneau School District already meets the higher standard of preparedness encouraged by the president’s Nov. 13 signature on the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act.
The act gives the Department of Health and Human Services the authority to give funding preferences to states that meet certain criteria pertaining to EpiPens — a common therapy mechanism used in emergency circumstances to deal with people suffering from anaphylactic shock.
To qualify, districts must have a stock of the devices available for use for any student, and have staff trained to deliver the medicine at school for all hours of the school day.
The Juneau School District already meets those criteria due to participating in a program that provides free pens to the schools, Chief-of-Staff Kristin Bartlett said.
Health assistants at schools that do not have nurses on campus full-time receive training on how to administer the therapy to ensure a trained staff member is always ready if the need arises, she said.
“Every year they do get used. We always have them available in case of an emergency,” she said.