Diabetes and Returning to School

It is important for a child with diabetes to take part in school activities for physical, emotional and social well-being. The child’s age, length of time since diagnosis and developmental stage will affect his or her ability to perform various tasks on their own.

The amount of assistance from the school may vary from child to child. Diabetes is regarded as a disability by federal law. Parents and school personnel may choose to develop a written plan that outlines specific accommodations and responsibilities related to diabetes care at school.

Meet With School Staff

Call and schedule a meeting with school staff before your child returns to school. Try to include as many of the following individuals in the meeting as possible:

  • School Nurse – If you do not have a school nurse, ask the school who will be helping with your child’s diabetes and include them in the meeting, such as a secretary
  • Nurse’s Aide / Administrative Support Staff
  • Teacher
  • Principal
  • Food Service Manager
  • Bus Driver
  • Counselor
  • Physical Education Teacher / Coach

Plan ahead for your school meeting:

  • Make a list of the diabetes care your child will require at school.
  • Ask your diabetes provider if they have written guidelines for diabetes care at school.
  • Ask the school personnel if there are any required forms that need to be filled out.

In your meeting with school staff, ask them the following questions:

  • Who will help monitor my child’s diabetes care at school, on the bus, and during field trips?
  • Who will assist and/or give my child insulin at school if needed?
  • Who will call me when my child’s diabetes supplies need to be replaced?
  • Who will remind my child to eat his/her snack (if applicable)?

Speak with the appropriate school staff to assign:

  • An area to store items used to treat low blood glucose
  • An area to test blood glucose levels
  • A plan to report blood glucose results to you
  • A system to track recurrent absences or requests to be excused from class due to diabetes

School Diabetes Kit

It is important to have diabetes supplies/equipment at school. The specific types of supplies will depend on the insulin regimen. Items you may want to include in the school kit are:

  • Blood glucose meter
  • Glucagon Emergency Kit
  • Test strips
  • Insulin pen
  • Lancet device
  • Pen needles
  • Lancets Syringes
  • Ketone strips Insulin
  • Extra pump supplies (insulin pump users)
  • Supply of carbohydrates to treat low blood glucose

Diabetes and Activity

  • Exercise and activity, such as recess, may lower blood glucose levels
  • Keeping safe blood glucose levels for activity/exercise may require the student to take carbohydrate without insulin for activity
  • All school personnel should be aware of the signs and symptoms of low blood glucose
  • Fast acting carbohydrate (i.e. juice) should be readily available to treat low blood glucose