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Educators weigh in on EpiPen policy bill

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Posted at 7:41 PM, Mar 07, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-07 19:41:55-05

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (WTVR) – Educators are weighing in after the General Assembly passed a bill that would require schools to have policies in place to keep a supply of Auto-Injectable Epinephrine, or  EpiPens, on hand in case a student has an allergic reaction.

The move comes after the death of a Chesterfield elementary school student earlier this year.

Educators said it is important for parents and guardians to let the school know If their child has an allergy.

"What I believe it will do is give us a range of options that perhaps are not available now," said Colonial Heights Schools Superintendent Joe Cox.

"They certainly ought to work with the Nurse and with the Principal of the School to be sure if possible, they have an individual EpiPen there for the student, that of course would be your first line of defense," said Cox.

Still, Prince George County Schools Superintendent Bobby Browder said that it is the responsibility of the parent and guardian to communicate with their physician. Then, the physician needs to write an order, and then the medication or EpiPen can be used by the school.

Browder said that 800 of the school system's 6,500 students have a medical issue, including allergies. And already this school year, Auto-Injectable Epinephrine has been used twice in the school system.

Still, administrators are hopeful that with a new law, the state will factor in funding to help implement the new rules.

Superintendents told CBS 6 Senior Reporter Wayne Covil that a twin pack of Auto-Injectable Epinephrine costs just over $200.

Additionally, one unit per school may not be enough when buses, field trips and extracurricular activities are factored in.

For larger school systems, officials said the costs could be very high.

The bill is headed to Gov. Bob McDonnell's desk.