About this information:
This information was prepared by the American Diabetes Association, a national leader in diabetes information and advocacy. It covers this state's rules on diabetes care, and may not include all the important details. We strive to be constantly up to date, but laws can change. It is not a substitute for professional legal advice.
1. Does Pennsylvania allow school staff members who are not health care professionals to administer insulin?
Yes. Pennsylvania allows a school nurse to identify school employees to administer insulin and glucagon. If there is no school nurse, the school administrator may identify at least one school employee. The school must also have written authorization from the student's doctor and the parent or guardian:
A school employee [sic] who is not a licensed health care practitioner and who has successfully completed the education modules under subsection (A) or annual education offered by a licensed health care practitioner with expertise in the care and treatment of diabetes that includes substantially the same information as outlined in subsection (A) may be designated in a student's service agreement or IEP to administer diabetes medications, use monitoring equipment and provide other diabetes care. H.B. 1606, Gen. Assemb., Reg. Sess., Section 6.2 (Pa. 2015-2016).
Training modules must be created by the Departments of Health and Education by November, 2016. The above statute provides general guidance for the required content of this training. Designated school employees who administer insulin or glucagon must receive training from a licensed health care practitioner.
2. Does Pennsylvania allow school staff members who are not health care professionals to administer glucagon?
Yes. As mentioned above, school employees may administer insulin and glucagon, as long as they meet the standards referenced above and complete training:
Employes [sic] who are not licensed health care practitioners shall only be authorized to administer diabetes medications via injection or infusion following annual education by a licensed health care practitioner with expertise in the care and treatment of diabetes, and following the school entity's receipt of written authorization from both the student's health care practitioner and parent or guardian … H.B. 1606, Gen. Assemb., Reg. Sess., Section 6.2, (Pa. 2015-2016).
3. Does Pennsylvania allow students to self-manage diabetes at school?
Yes. Pennsylvania allows capable students to possess and self-administer diabetes medication and equipment as long as the parent or guardian provides a written statement from the student's doctor and authorization from the parent or guardian. The school nurse and student must provide a written acknowledgement that the student is capable of self-administration and monitoring. For additional information about the specific content required for each of these written authorizations and acknowledgments, please see, H.B. 1606, Gen. Assemb., Reg. Sess., Section 6.2 (Pa. 2015-2016).
4. Does Pennsylvania allow students to carry diabetes supplies such as needles, insulin, and blood glucose testing devices?
Yes. As mentioned above, Pennsylvania law specifically allows capable student to possess or keep with them their diabetes medication and equipment as long as the above requirements are met. H.B. 1606, Gen. Assemb., Reg. Sess., Section 6.2 (Pa. 2015-2016).
5. Does this fact sheet apply to Pennsylvania private schools?
Yes. Pennsylvania law states that non-public schools may "comply with the education of school employes [sic] and provision of diabetes-related care to a student with diabetes" required under this statute. H.B. 1606, Gen. Assemb., Reg. Sess., Section 6.2 (Pa. 2015-2016). In addition, public school must provide private schools with health services. Specifically, a "child in private, parochial and public schools shall be provided with school nurse services in the school which the child attends," and "school nurse services shall be provided through the public school system." 29 P.A. Code § 23.51.
Resources:For more information, see the following helpful resources:
- Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Diabetes in School: Recommendations and Resource Guide for School Personnel (Revised January 2017) provides information to educate school personnel about effective diabetes management.
- The General Assembly of Pennsylvania, Session of 2015, House Bill Number 1606, Section 6.1 (July 13, 2016) (Other formats also available).
- Pennsylvania Code, Title 29, Chapter 23, Subchapter B, School Nurse Services, Section 23.51