On June 12, 2014, the Governor signed into law House Bill (HB) 264 that establishes care for students with diabetes in public schools and chartered nonpublic schools. Specifically, HB 264 requires that schools ensure that all diabetic students receive appropriate diabetes care in accordance with orders signed by their treating physician and with their Section 504 plan (if applicable). Some important aspects of HB 264 are as follows:
- HB 264 authorizes a school nurse or, in the absence of a school nurse, a school employee trained in diabetes care as prescribed by HB 264, to administer diabetes medication.
- HB 264 mandates that students with diabetes be allowed to attend their neighborhood schools (e.g., the school the child would attend if he/she did not have diabetes).
- HB 264 requires schools to provide an information sheet to parents advising them that their child may be eligible for a Section 504 Plan no later than 14 days after receiving an order signed by a student’s physician regarding the student’s diagnosis. The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) is required to develop a Section 504 plan information sheet for schools to use. ODE is also required to adopt nationally recognized training guidelines for the training of school employees in caring for diabetic students.
- HB 264 also mandates that training for employees regarding diabetes take place prior to the beginning of the school year or, as needed, within 14 days of the enrollment of a student with diabetes or within 14 days of being notified by a parent that a student has been diagnosed with diabetes. The training must be coordinated by the school nurse (or a licensed health care professional with expertise in diabetes).andnbsp;Not all staff is required to have training in diabetes care, but all school buildings that have a student(s) with diabetes must have a staff member who is trained.andnbsp;Accordingly, HB 264 allows school building principals to solicit volunteers by providing notices to employees stating: that the school is required to provide diabetes care to students with diabetes and is seeking employees who are willing to be trained to provide that care; a description of the task to be performed; that participation is voluntary and that the school can not take action against an employee who does not agree to provide care; that training will be provided by a licensed health care professional; that trained employees are immune from liability; and the name of the individual to contact if an employee is interested.
- Schools are also authorized to provide to bus drivers responsible for the transportation of a diabetic student, and to all school employees who have primary responsibility for supervising a diabetic student, training in the recognition of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia and actions to be taken in response to emergency situations.andnbsp;This training is separate and apart from the non-emergency training mentioned above.
- HB 264 also allows students to provide their own diabetes care during regular school hours and at school-sponsored activities.andnbsp;Schools can not limit the areas in which such care can be administered; thus, a student can use any area of the school, including classrooms or private areas.
- HB 264 requires that schools report to the ODE, no later than December 31, the number of students with diabetes enrolled in the school and the number of errors associated with the administration of diabetes medication during the previous school year.
Moving forward to the 2014-15 school year, school districts should:
- Review (and revise if necessary) current medication administration policies to comport with the requirements of HB 264.
- Solicit volunteers to be trained in diabetes care for each school building where diabetic students are in attendance and schedule training for them.
- Review student building assignments to ensure that all students with diabetes are attending their neighborhood schools. If students are not attending their neighborhood schools and have been assigned to other buildings due to the availability of diabetes care, schools should contact parents to discuss whether they prefer to have the student continue in his/her current building or to return to his/her neighborhood school.andnbsp;All decisions regarding this issue should be documented in writing.
- Stand ready to provide notices to parents/guardians of diabetic students regarding their rights under Section 504, and be ready to develop such plans as are necessary.