Health Library
Diabetes and Returning to School

How to Return to School With Diabetes?

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 their ability to perform various tasks on their own.

The amount of assistance from the school may vary; the school and family will need to work together to determine the amount of assistance needed.

Set Up a Meeting with School Staff

Schedule a meeting with your child’s school personnel every year before returning to school or when your child is first diagnosed with diabetes. Review the Diabetes School Orders, Insulin Dose Orders and the Individual Management Plan for caring for your child at school with:

  • 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)
  • Other school personnel: 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.

During your meeting with school staff, ask the following questions:

  • Who will help monitor my child’s diabetes care at school, on the bus and during field trips?
  • Who will assist or give my child insulin at school if needed?
  • Who will call me when my child’s diabetes supplies need to be replaced?
  • Is carbohydrate information for school foods available?
  • Who will remind my child to eat their meals or snack (if applicable)?

Speak with the school staff to decide:

  • Where to store items used to treat low blood glucose
  • Where to test blood glucose levels and talk about diabetes management as needed
  • 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

Diabetes is regarded as a disability by federal law. Parents and school personnel may choose to develop a written plan (known as a 504 plan) that outlines specific accommodations and responsibilities related to diabetes care at school.

Suggested websites for additional information:

Diabetes Supplies at School

It is important to have diabetes supplies / equipment at school (see list below). The specific types of supplies depend on the insulin regimen.

  • 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)
  • Carbohydrates to treat low blood glucose

Safety Tips for Physical 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 carbohydrates (e.g., juice) should be readily available to treat low blood glucose.

Last Updated 02/2022

Reviewed By Alesia Flynn
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