Severe allergy draft policy published for community input

 Development began in May, feedback open until November 

A draft of the policy was released on Oct. 24
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

As of Oct. 24, after consultation with multiple groups and individuals on campus, a draft of Queen’s university-wide severe allergy policy has been posted on the Queen’s Secretariat and Legal Counsel site.

The policy comes after a report by the Severe Allergy Review Committee recommended it in May.

The draft will be open for community feedback until Nov. 7.

The scope of the proposed policy and procedures applies to all undergraduate and graduate students. It assigns responsibilities to various departments and units across the University to mitigate risk and identify clear parameters for supporting students with severe allergic restrictions.

Notably, the draft articulates the “expectation that students are responsible for their own allergy”.

For students with severe allergies themselves, under the new policy, they are encouraged to identify themselves through residence admissions processes, if applicable, and to contact Hospitality Services before arriving on campus to accommodate their specific condition and allergen(s).

Worn medical identification is encouraged, as well as carrying epinephrine auto-injectors at all times. The onus is put on students to ask questions about ingredients and the potential of cross-contamination.

Students are also delegated the responsibility to tell others with whom they are in regular contact, including but not limited to dons, roommates, floor mates or teammates, how to recognize symptoms of their reaction and what to do in response.

Queen’s focus on anaphylaxis comes in response to an event in September of last year, when first-year student Andrea Mariano was sent into anaphylactic shock on campus due to a severe allergy to dairy and nuts, and died after being taken to Kingston General Hospital.

The newly-published draft states that “if the policy is not implemented there could be a reputational impact” and, if left unimplemented, “the university could be potentially exposed to legal liability.”

The financial implications associated are listed as relatively minor, with the largest cost being the annual stocking of 20 epinephrine auto-injectors for Campus Security, emergency services personnel and Queen’s First Aid.

The estimated cost totals $2,000 and will come out of Environmental Health and Safety. Student Wellness Services will purchase their own injectors.

The draft lays out definitions of key terms, including stock epinephrine and lists the symptoms of anaphylaxis as it might manifest in different individuals.

Key responsibilities are delegated to Queen’s as a whole, the office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), the office of the Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, the office of the Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration) and students of Queen’s.

Moving forward following the community response period, the policy requires approval by the Policy Advisory Subcommittee and the Vice-Principals’ Operations Committee.

Notice on the policy will then be provided on several University web pages, including a new allergy information and resource site and will be communicated in consultation with University Communications.

Several of the May reports other recommendations have since been implemented, including the hiring of a dietician in Hospitality Services to consult with students about their severe allergies.

Comments are invited to be sent to policies@queensu.ca by Monday, Nov. 7.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.