What to expect at school
Your child/teen can ride the bus, participate in extracurricular activities, and attend any school event or field trip even if a parent can’t be there. The school does need to provide diabetes care for such events/trips, but if a parent can help or attend instead, that always helps the school and contributes to a collaborative relationship. For those times you can’t make it, the school should have your back.
You might want to request a 504 plan for diabetes management in schools, which is a way to get details of what diabetes care looks like down in writing. This makes sure everyone is on this same page.
Discuss with the school who will provide care, where care will be provided, and parental preferences around communication. Sometimes a child/teen prefers care to be where they are (in the classroom), other times they want privacy in the nurse’s office. Some parents want a call daily at lunch to be a part of insulin dosing decisions, others want the school to minimize contact. Just know that we have ordered the school must inform a parent if BG drops under 70 or is over 300 mg/dL at school, as insulin dose adjustment, extra glucose checks, or ketone checks might be warranted in those cases. That is the only contact we require, but you might request more frequent contact. These discussions are an important part of a 504 plan.
The independence level of your child/teen is a collaborative decision between the medical team, your family, and the school. There are a few things you should know:
- If a teen is missing carb coverage at home or school, we cannot write an order that says they are independent at school, as our medical documentation doesn’t support that medical order
- If a child is in elementary school, they will most likely need adult involvement still in the school setting.
- If someone at school is pushing your child to be more independent and it feels too fast, or if a school is pushing pens or a pump you aren’t ready for, please talk to our diabetes team about your concern.
The school will provide insulin any time the child/teen requires insulin. That includes insulin for snacks eaten at parties, morning snack, lunch, etc.
Our orders ask that no more than 5 min/day of class/peer time is missed for diabetes care each day. Most schools do a great job meeting this expectation. If you’re frequently waiting for your school staff to administer insulin or provide diabetes care, please talk to your school and consider a written email for documentation. If the problem persists, contact Yeymi Jimenez, our social worker, at 408-851-1163.
Your child/teen can stay in their neighborhood school and will not be transferred because of their diabetes.
You may need a note from our team for absences or tardiness related to diabetes if there is a high frequency of tardiness or absences.
Check in with your school to see how they handle substitute teachers—there will be a plan in place to ensure substitute teachers know your child has diabetes, and how they may need to identify and handle signs of low blood sugars.