New school policy sets parents at ease

THE state government has won praise for its decision to introduce a strict anaphylaxis policy for Victorian schools.

The new guidelines include school staff needing to be trained in management of severe allergic reactions, the implementation of prevention strategies, the development of medical action plans for students and to have back up EpiPens on site.

The guidelines will come into effect on the first day of term two (April 22) and cover government, Catholic and independent schools.

Staff training to implement this policy will be carried out by St John’s Ambulance with training for government schools to be fully funded by the state government.

Staff at independent and Catholic schools will have to undergo this training at a cost to the school with no government funding on offer.

Emmanuel College deputy principal of students Brian Brown said the school already met the requirements of the new guidelines.

“We have had an anaphylaxis policy in place for the past 12 months,” Mr Brown said. “We have half-a-dozen students at the school that have anaphylaxis medical action plans in place.

“All our staff have done the necessary training and continue to keep that updated and we work closely with the parents.”

One of those parents is Janet McKinnon, whose son Riley Gapes is in year 7 at Emmanuel College.

Riley has major allergies with eggs, peanuts and macadamia nuts as well as chronic asthma.

His mum said while Riley carries his own EpiPen at school and knows his health limitations, having the school with a strong policy in place is very reassuring.

“It makes a big difference to know that when he goes to school the staff are aware of the issues that potentially could arise,” Mrs McKinnon said.

“Riley has his own medical action plan in place and he knows what he can’t eat but it takes a lot of worry away to know the school is aware of Riley’s circumstances.

“It is a positive step from the government to have this new policy for all schools and I’m sure it will give piece of mind to a lot of parents,” Ms McKinnon said.

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