By Marc Kovac
Schoolchildren dealing with diabetes will have an easier time monitoring their blood-sugar levels and getting the care they need under law changes set to take effect later this year.
HB 264 requires school boards to ensure that diabetic students have access during the school day to care outlined by their doctors.
That includes enabling students to keep close tabs on blood-glucose and ketone levels, administering insulin and other medications as needed and allowing appropriate timing for meals, snacks and physical activity.
Medications can be administered by a school nurse, designated employee or, on the written request of parents and authorization of doctors, by students themselves.
“The bill also allows the student to possess ... all necessary supplies and equipment to perform diabetes-care tasks,” according to an analysis by the state’s Legislative Service Commission. “The bill requires that a student have access to a private area for performing diabetes-care tasks if requested by the student or the parent, guardian or other person having care or charge of a student.”
The legislation also requires state education officials to adopt “nationally recognized guidelines” for training school employees in the care of diabetic students.
HB 264 was sponsored by Reps. Lynn Wachtmann, a Republican from Napoleon, and John Barnes, Democrat from Cleveland.
In an earlier released statement, Wachtmann said he offered the legislation “because there is a need in our state to ensure the safety of children with diabetes when they are at school or participating in school-sponsored activities. Because diabetes must be managed at all times, this bill not only allows school staff to be trained for the care, but also specifies that capable students can self-administer their diabetes medications.”
HB 264 passed the Ohio House and Senate on near-unanimous votes and was signed by Gov. John Kasich last month. Its provisions take effect in mid-September, not too long after the start of the new school year.