Actions for School Personnel, Parents/Guardians, and Students

The health, safety, and educational progress of a student with diabetes depend on cooperation and collaboration among members of the school health team and the student’s personal diabetes health care team. Working together, members of the school health team implement the provisions of the student’s health care and education plans and provide the necessary assistance in the school setting. Refer to the Diabetes Overview for more information on the school health team and the health care and education plans.

Health care plans include:

Education plans include the Section 504 Plan, other education plans, or individualized education program (IEP). These plans are developed to address the student’s needs for services to manage diabetes safely and effectively in school, under Section 504, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. (See School Responsibilities Under Federal Laws)

The school nurse is the most appropriate person to implement the student’s plans. When a school nurse is not available, nonmedical personnel—called “trained diabetes personnel” in this guide—can be trained and supervised by a diabetes-trained health care professional such as the school nurse or a certified diabetes educator to safely provide and assist with diabetes care tasks in the school setting. These tasks may include blood glucose monitoring, insulin and glucagon administration, and urine or blood testing for ketones.

A diabetes-trained health care professional, such as the school nurse or a certified diabetes educator, is best qualified to train and supervise trained diabetes personnel assigned to provide routine or emergency care to a student with diabetes. School administrators and nursing personnel also should determine whether there are applicable State and local laws and factor them into helping the student with diabetes at school.

Once it has been determined that a student-specific diabetes care task may be delegated, the school nurse should be involved in the decision making process to identify which school personnel are most appropriate to be trained. A diabetes-trained health care professional, such as a school nurse or a certified diabetes educator, develops and implements the training program, evaluates the ability of trained diabetes personnel to perform the task, and establishes a plan for ongoing supervision throughout the school year. When trained diabetes personnel carry out tasks specified in the student’s health care plans, under no circumstances should they make independent decisions about the daily, ongoing management of a student with diabetes. All diabetes care tasks should be provided as prescribed in the student’s individualized Diabetes Medical Management Plan or physician’s orders.

In addition, to help ensure that students with diabetes are safe, ready to learn, and able to participate in all school-sponsored events, all school personnel should receive training that provides a basic understanding of diabetes, how it is managed, how to recognize the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, and whom to contact for help. (See Train School Personnel)

What Actions Should School Personnel, the Parents/Guardians, and Students Take?

The following pages describe the actions and responsibilities of each key school staff member, the parents/guardians, and the student. A staff member may fill more than one role. For example, a teacher or a coach also may be designated as the trained diabetes personnel.

The recommended actions do not represent legal checklists of what school personnel must do to comply with relevant Federal and State laws. Rather, they are steps that administrators, school nurses, school personnel, the parents/guardians, and students should take to help ensure effective diabetes management at school.