By the end of summer, many parents and their children are itching for school to start. But when you have a child with diabetes, the start of a new school year may also bring worries.
At the top of your list, you may wonder how your child will be treated if his blood sugar levels get dangerously high or low.
If you prepare well for the new school year, there should be little need to worry.
Here are 5 steps to help you prepare:
1. Meet with school staff – including teachers, coaches, tutors, playground aides and bus drivers at least 1 week before school starts. You can introduce your child’s condition to them and/or provide updates from the previous year.
2. Fill out Akron Children’s Diabetes Center school form and medical release form. Complete these before school starts and review the paperwork with school staff during your meeting.
3. Supply your child’s school with:
- Phone list. This should include emergency contacts, such as the numbers for your home and/or work, physician’s office or clinic and relatives, neighbors or friends.
- Diabetes supplies. Check periodically to see if restocking is needed. You may also provide a Glucagon Emergency Kits for the school’s use.
- Extra juice, glucose tabs or snacks.
- A “low kit.” Give this to the school with instructions on when to use it so everyone’s prepared ahead of time.
4. Assign an adult to carry your child’s “low kit” and blood glucose meter during field trips.
5. Update the school with insulin changes after each office visit by giving the office an “office discharge sheet.”
Your child’s rights at school
On June 12, 2014, Ohio Gov. Kasich signed House Bill 264, “Safe at School Diabetes Legislation,” to protect children with diabetes and give them certain rights. The law:
- Requires that students with diabetes in Ohio schools receive diabetes care in accordance with a doctor’s orders.
- Allows children to manage their own care if their doctor deems it appropriate.
- Stipulates that school employees – including teachers, coaches, nursing staff and bus drivers – are trained in diabetes care.
- Mandates that students with diabetes be allowed to attend the school they would otherwise attend if they did not have diabetes.
- Requires school boards to ensure that students with diabetes have access during the school day to care outlined by their doctors.
- Enables students to closely monitor their blood-glucose and ketone levels and to administer insulin and other medications as needed.
- Permits administration of medications by a school nurse, designated employee or by the student themselves (upon written request of parents and physician authorization) and allows students to possess all necessary supplies and equipment to perform diabetes-care tasks.
- Requires that students have access to a private area to perform diabetes-care tasks if requested by the student, parent, guardian or other caretaker.
- Obliges state education officials to adopt nationally recognized guidelines for training school employees in the care of students with diabetes.
- Requires that schools provide information related to 504 eligibility.
- Grants immunity from civil liability to school employees, boards of education and other school authorities for activities authorized by the bill.
Thanks to this law and the preparedness steps outlined above, your child can move to the head of the class when it comes to diabetes care at school.
For more information about diabetes, visit Akron Children’s Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology.