Managing Diabetes at School

By | August 9, 2019
children in a classroom

Goodbye, summer. Hello, homework. And guess what—the first assignment isn’t for kids. Parents, make a game plan to ensure all the bases are covered for your child’s diabetes care at school.

Getting back into the routine of school takes a little more preparation for kids with diabetes, but it pays off over and over as the weeks and months go by. And since kids spend nearly half their waking hours in school, reliable diabetes care during the school day really matters.

Some older students will be comfortable testing their blood sugar, injecting insulin, and adjusting levels if they use an insulin pump. Younger students and those who just found out they have diabetes will need help with everyday diabetes care.

In a perfect world, all teachers and other school staff would understand how to manage diabetes so they could support your child as needed. But here in the real world, you’ll want to provide information to the school and work with staff to keep your son or daughter safe and healthy, no matter what the school day brings.

Make a Diabetes Management Plan

No two kids handle their diabetes exactly the same way. Before the year begins, meet with your child’s health care team to develop a personalized Diabetes Medical Management Planexternal icon (DMMP). Then visit the school and review the DMMP with the principal, office secretary, school nurse, nutrition service manager, teachers, and other staff who may have responsibility for your son or daughter during the day and after school.

The DMMP explains everything about diabetes management and treatment, including:

  • Target blood sugar range and whether your child needs help checking his or her blood sugar
  • Your child’s specific hypoglycemiaexternal icon (low blood sugar, or “low”) symptoms (see the list on this page) and how to treat hypoglycemia
  • Insulin or other medication used
  • Meal and snack plans, including for special events
  • How to manage physical activity/sports

The DMMP works with your child’s daily needs and routine. Make sure to update it every year or more often if treatment changes.

You may want to work with the school to set up a 504 plan pdf icon[PDF – 325 KB]external icon that explains what the school will do to make sure your son or daughter is safe and has the same education opportunities as other students. The 504 plan makes the school’s responsibilities clear and helps avoid misunderstandings. A new plan should be set up each school year.

Team Up With School Staff

Work with teachers and other staff to make sure all the bases are covered for a safe and successful year.

The school nurse is usually the main staff member in charge of your student’s diabetes care, but may not always be available when needed. One or more backup school employees should be trainedexternal icon in diabetes care tasks and should be on site at all times during the day, including after-school activities. The 504 plan pdf icon[PDF – 325 KB]external icon explains how this works.

Make sure to visit the classroom(s). Some teachers may have had kids with diabetes in class before, but there’s still a learning curve because every student is unique—and so is every teacher.

This is a great time to talk about class rules. Are students allowed to leave the room without asking? Should they raise their hand? The more your child and teacher understand each other’s needs, the less disruptive and awkward self-care activities will be. You may want to ask if the teacher could talk to the class about diabetes—what it is and isn’t, what happens, and what needs to be done every day—without pointing out that your child has diabetes.

Also let the teacher know specific signs to look for if your son or daughter’s blood sugar is too low. Does he or she get irritable or nervous? Hungry or dizzy? The teacher may notice the signs before your child does and can alert him or her to eat an appropriate snack or get help.

Check in with nutrition services (school cafeteria) to get menus and nutritional information to help your child plan insulin use. Some students bring lunch from home because it’s easier to stick to their meal plan.

Kids with diabetes need to be physically active just like other kids. In fact, physical activity can help them use less insulin because it lowers blood sugar. Talk with the physical education instructor about what your kid needs to participate fully and safely.

And as the school year gets into full swing, get familiar with the daily school schedule, including any after-school activities. You’ll want to know where and when you can find your child if needed. Some parents use a free smartphone app to help them stay informed and in touch with their child.

Make a Diabetes Checklist

  • Create a backpack checklist you and/or your child can use every day to be sure all necessary supplies are packed:
    • Blood sugar meter and extra batteries, testing strips, lancets
    • Ketone testing supplies
    • Insulin and syringes/pens (include for backup even if an insulin pump is used)
    • Antiseptic wipes
    • Water
    • Glucose tablets or other fast-acting carbs like fruit juice or hard candy (about 10 to 15 grams) that will raise blood sugar levels quickly
  • Put together a “hypo” box (see sidebar) with your child’s name on it for the school office in case of hypoglycemia

Also make sure your child:

  • Wears a medical ID necklace or bracelet every day. Many options are available.
  • Tests blood sugar according to schedule; older students can set phone reminders.
  • Knows where and when to go for blood sugar testing if help is needed.
  • Knows who to go to for help with hypoglycemia.
Coach Of Female High School Basketball Team Gives Team Talk

Field trips, sports, special events. Kids with diabetes can do it all.

In case of hypoglycemia, keep a go-to box of supplies in the school office or nurse’s office (and another in the classroom if possible). Label it with your child’s name and remember to keep it stocked!

  • Glucagon
  • Test strips
  • Lancets
  • Blood sugar monitor
  • Glucose tablets
  • Juice boxes
  • Crackers

Important: Treating Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia can happen quickly and needs to be treated immediately. It’s most often caused by too much insulin, waiting too long for a meal or snack, not eating enough, or getting extra physical activity. Hypoglycemia symptomsexternal icon vary, so school staff should be familiar with your child’s specific symptoms (see the DMMP), which could include:

  • Shakiness
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Sweating, chills, or clamminess
  • Irritability or impatience
  • Dizziness and difficulty concentrating
  • Hunger or nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Anger, stubbornness, or sadness

If your child has hypoglycemia several times a week, visit his or her health care provider to see if the treatment plan needs to be adjusted.

Stay Well All Year

  • Make sure your child has had all recommended shots, including the flu shot. Kids with diabetes can get sicker from the flu and stay sick longer. Being sick can make blood sugar monitoring harder.
  • Regular hand washing, especially before eating and after using the bathroom, is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.

New Links on MedlinePlus

25 thoughts on “Managing Diabetes at School

  1. secretary course

    I am not an easy-to-please reader, however your interesting viewpoint on this particular subject matter has kept my focus. This is one of the best articles on this subject matter I have ever gone through. This particular is superb content.

  2. secretary course

    It is rejuvenating to stumble upon such a excellent-quality article. Lately, it has been more difficult to find extremely good articles like this one. I’m pleased I had the opportunity to browse through the content material. I agree with you.

  3. secretary course

    I adore your work! This specific is fabulous information together with which I have to agree in most cases. You actually have put this out very well and it is clear you did your homework. Thank you for this specific info.

  4. secretary course

    You have got an incredibly nice post here. You’ve created this in such a unique manner it’s difficult not to understand it. We agree with lots of your points right here. You’ve performed a really remarkably fine job.

  5. secretary course

    It is truly awesome writing. I’m amazed with the superb use of verbiage as well as formatting. I accept many of the points you tend to make.

  6. secretary course

    I am delighted I found this write-up. Your information is actually thought-provoking as well as most exciting. I personally agree with the points you have made in this specific writing.

  7. secretary course

    I personally consider this particular to be information of good quality and it appears to be written in order to make the viewer ponder. I love your writing style as well as thank you for your endeavours.

  8. secretary course

    I greatly liked this remarkable article. It is actually intelligently compiled as well as full of wonderful info. Thanks for making it intriguing from start to finish. I agree with you on numerous points.

  9. secretary course

    I’m amazed at how much this article shows my own feelings. This is not just well-composed and interesting information, it is insightful as well as thoughtful. You really must have done your research.

  10. secretary course

    Simply put, this post is genuine quality! You have actually put things into perspective for me. I am satisfied with your writing style and abilities. Thanks for making this content easy to understand and interesting.

  11. secretary course

    This is actually the very first time in a number of years I was able to read through a post without having to be bored. Many thanks to keep my interest.

  12. secretary course

    This is a very well written post which keeps your interest from start to finish. I personally can tell lots of research as well as work went into it.

  13. secretary course

    This really is writing at its best. You’ve done very good job on the exploration and compiling of this particular material. I am enraptured by the sensible volume and the nicely made points right here.

  14. secretary course

    I agree with a great deal of the info in this post. You’ve made the information intriguing and clear so it is recognized what your caliber is.

  15. secretary course

    You really understand how to express your ideas in the written world. This specific post is actually dead on accurate in my opinion. I personally accept your own views. I wish lots of readers see this material.

  16. secretary course

    Seldom will I agree with many people on this topic, nonetheless you have made a real exceptional case in this article that there are few points I’d argue. I actually cannot visualize any person outlining this better.

  17. secretary course

    I find that occasionally I have to fight to decipher just what a blogger is intending to state, nonetheless you have made your own information clear.

  18. secretary course

    It’s been my own belief that brilliant writing similar to this takes exploration as well as expertise. It’s very obvious you’ve carried out your exploration. Outstanding work!

  19. secretary course

    I’m a writer, nonetheless I am certainly not of your caliber. I understand the energy it took you to compile this material. It’s interesting and also extremely good in my opinion.

  20. secretary course

    I just read this post from beginning to end and I believed I would let you know I think your insight of these points is splendid. Nice work.

  21. secretary course

    It is not exactly typical for me to go through this kind of material, nevertheless this grabbed my consideration as soon as I read the first sentence. Thanks a lot.

  22. secretary course

    It is hard finding information on this specific theme which is very well-written, easy to read and also simple to grasp. That’s actually why I felt moved to put a remark here to inform you this really is incredible.

  23. secretary course

    In case almost all authors could possibly create this sort of top quality information like you, viewers would be much more likely to understand more clearly the topic. This specific write-up is rather well executed.

  24. secretary course

    It’s almost never that I pull through material on this subject matter, nonetheless I was attracted into this post. The phrasing as well as well-made points made it readable for me.

Comments are closed.