South Whidbey School District updates in-school medication policy

Taking aspirin or a quick cap of Dayquil during school better come with a signed parental letter and a doctor’s referral.

In the midst of continuing policy reviews, the South Whidbey School Board recently eyed its medication at school policy. It was last approved in March 2004. Since then, the state school directors group has approved a handful of changes, which South Whidbey adopted.

“It’s pretty routine,” said Board Chairman Steve Scoles.

“There wasn’t any controversy about it.”

The policy workshop Jan. 9 lasted about an hour and resulted in a consensus to adopt the Washington State School Directors’ Association policy. The board approved the changes at its business meeting, Jan. 23.

Existing rules limit the district’s liability. Students who require medication during the school day need written parental authorization and a written request from a licensed health professional. Previously only oral medication like pills or inhalants could be administered by staff. Changes would include prescribed and over-the-counter oral, topical medication or drops.

South Whidbey has only two students that require daily medication, one each at Langley Middle School and South Whidbey High School. Both students receive medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. At the high school, 11 students have medication paperwork; 14 students at the middle school; and 21 at South Whidbey Elementary School.

Most commonly, students use asthma inhalers and pain relief medication in the form of ibuprofen for headaches, orthodontia, chronic pain or cramps.

“Each student brings in their own meds and they have forms signed by their health care providers,” Statz said. “We do have a few epi-pens (epinephrine autoinjector) for severe allergic reactions, but administration has been rare.”

Injections are supposed to be performed by a trained staff member. Nasal inhaler, suppositories and non-emergency injections must be administered by a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse. However, most of the district’s revisions were innocuous, with the board replacing the word “shall” to “will” in the policy.

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