1. Does Washington allow school staff members who are not health care professionals to administer insulin?
Yes. School district employees may provide diabetes care, including insulin. Unlike some states where parents do not have a choice in determining who will provide care, in Washington, parents have the opportunity to be more involved. Parent-Designated Adults (PDAs) must receive appropriate training in diabetes care:
(2) (a) For the purposes of this section, "parent-designated adult" means a volunteer, who may be a school district employee, who receives additional training from a health care professional or expert in diabetic care selected by the parents, and who provides care for the child consistent with the individual health plan. (b) To be eligible to be a parent-designated adult, a school district employee not licensed [as a health professional] shall file, without coercion by the employer, a voluntary written, current, and unexpired letter of intent stating the employee's willingness to be a parent-designated adult. […] The parent-designated adult must also receive additional training as established in subsection (2)(a) of this section for the additional care the parents have authorized the parent-designated adult to provide. RCW § 28A.210.330.
School district officials should not pressure their staff members to refuse to volunteer, or transfer students to another school rather than permit staff members to volunteer. The district may recruit a school nurse or help to identify a school staff member for the parent to select as a PDA. This may be necessary so that students can receive a Free Appropriate Public Education, which is required under federal laws that protect the rights of children. The law in this area is very complicated so we encourage you to contact us for further information.
2. Does Washington allow school staff members who are not health care professionals to administer glucagon?
Yes. As stated above, trained volunteers may provide all types of diabetes care, including glucagon administration. RCW § 28A.210.330.
3. Does Washington allow students to self-manage diabetes at school?
Yes. Washington requires school districts to allow students with diabetes to self-manage diabetes care anytime, anywhere:
(1) School districts shall provide individual health plans for students with diabetes, subject to the following conditions: (a) The board of directors of the school district shall adopt policies to be followed for students with diabetes. The policies shall include, but need not be limited to: […] iv) The provision for students to perform blood glucose tests, administer insulin, treat hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, and have easy access to necessary supplies and equipment to perform monitoring and treatment functions as specified in the individual health plan. […] (v) The establishment of school policy exceptions necessary to accommodate the students' needs to eat whenever and wherever necessary, have easy, unrestricted access to water and bathroom use, have provisions made for parties at school when food is served, eat meals and snacks on time, and other necessary exceptions as described in the individual health plan. RCW § 28A.210.330.
4. Does Washington allow students to carry diabetes supplies such as needles, insulin, and blood glucose testing devices?
Yes. Washington requires school districts to allow student with diabetes to carry diabetes care supplies anytime, anywhere:
The board of directors of the school district shall adopt policies to be followed for students with diabetes. […] The policies shall include the option for students to carry on their persons the necessary supplies and equipment and the option to perform monitoring and treatment functions anywhere on school grounds including the students' classrooms, and at school-sponsored events. RCW § 28A.210.330.
For more information, see the following helpful resources: