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11/15/2017

Nurses driving proposed updates to policies governing medication in schools

School nurses are playing a major role in proposed updates to School Board policies surrounding the administration of medication in schools, and a new policy specifically on medical marijuana.

Work on both policies were suggested by School Department nursing staff, board member Barbara Powers said at the board's meeting Nov. 14, 2017. "So the language you see in front of you is honestly directly from them," said Powers, who chairs the board's policy committee.

"I think you'll notice in administering medication, they are trying to bring greater transparency," Powers said.

Proposed revisions would add insulin and glucagon to the list of medications that students may possess and self-administer, with written permission from parents and the student's health-care provider. Current policy allows inhalers and autoinjectors under the same provisions.

Other prescriptions may be possessed and self-administered by students under the current policy, but a proposed revision would limit that to High School students, and disallow any controlled substance. "Nothing that is a controlled substance will ever be in the hands of students at the High School," Powers said.

A new policy governing the "rare" use of medical marijuana in schools is also proposed, at the request of the nursing staff. "Recognizing that this is now a defacto part of treatment in some very rare situations, they wanted to get that into a policy," Powers said.

Powers described the proposed protocols on medical marijuana as "very, very tightly controlled," administration in school only by the student's parent or primary care giver. "The big jump-out for me here is the very few times medical marijuana may be in fact prescribed for a student .. is that we will not ever be administering it," Powers said. "A parent will literally come to school," she said.

The medical marijuana will not be in a smokable form, and must be administered in the principal's office or place designated by the principal, under the proposed policy.

The Policy Committee will meet again at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28 in the High School library, before the board's November worshop, to work more on the proposed policies. At the first reading, student representatives to the School Board asked for better clarification as to which medications students may carry and self-administer.

In other policy matters the board heard a first reading on proposed revisions to policies governing board member conflict of interest and bidding and purchasing requirements; and a new policy governing procurement staff. The updates were suggested by the School Department's business manager and apply to federally funded projects.

Second reading and adoption of all five policies are slated for the Dec. 12 board meeting.