Checklist for families preparing for school

Going back to school, starting the school year after a child is diagnosed with diabetes, or starting a new school requires planning and preparation. Use this checklist and the materials on the website to help make the process smooth.

  1. Contact your child’s school: Set up a meeting, ideally with the principal and your child’s classroom teacher(s), physical education teacher, and anyone else who is spending a significant amount of time every day with your child.
  2. Find your school board’s policy. Check the website of your school board to see whether they have a policy on management of type 1 diabetes or medical conditions in school. The policy will likely have information on roles and responsibilities, as well as any necessary forms and procedures. If you can’t find your board’s policy, start with the policy from your province or territory. You can find a list of them here.
  3. Complete an individual care plan. Your school may provide you with a template care plan. If not, you can find one on this site.
  4. Arrange for training and assemble your materials. Who you need to train and what information you need to provide will vary. Generally, all school staff should receive some knowledge about diabetes, including recognizing and treating low blood sugar and providing emergency support. Diabetes@School has created an online training module for school staff.
  5. Prepare supplies. Along with the supplies that your child carries in their backpack, you will need to prepare emergency kits to be left at school. Depending on where your child spends their day and how big the school is, you may need more than one. Typically there is an emergency kit in the student’s classroom and often in the gym. Here is some information about what to include in the kit.
  6. Set up a communications system with the school. Determine how information will go back and forth between home and school: who will be involved, what methods you will use, and what information needs to be shared. All of these details should be in your child’s care plan, and it’s helpful to talk through them with the people who will be supporting your child at school.
  7. Ensure other adults involved in the school day have the information they need. Reach out to staff in before- and after-school programs, the bus driver(s), and anyone else who will be spending time with your child during the school day. The information they need will vary, but it’s important they know your child has diabetes (for example, the bus may have a no-food policy, but if your child needs to treat a low, they will need to eat or drink something).
  8. Check in. Plan to check in with the school after a week or so to see how things are going. It’s important to hear about their experiences, and to adjust plans if needed.
  9. Involve your child. If your child is interested, try to involve them. You can let them choose the boxes for their emergency kits, or ask them to help pack the supplies.

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