Gov. Nathan Deal has signed a bill to require schools to help provide care to diabetic students at no extra cost to the state.
The bill gives guardians and physicians the option to sign a diabetes medical management plan that allows students to perform daily monitoring activities in school. And each school which has at least one diabetic student enrolled must have at least two school employees trained under the diabetes care guidelines of the Georgia Association of School Nurses.
The Georgia Chapter of the American Diabetes Association has offered to provide that training to school personnel at no charge. Personnel will be trained to administer tests to check blood glucose levels and also recognize situations that require emergency assistance.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, whose child was diagnosed last year with Type I diabetes.
“Our family has seen the tremendous benefit of having a school nurse, teachers and school administrators willing to seek the training and information necessary to provide a safe school environment for our diabetic child,” Ramsey said when the legislation was announced in February. “House Bill 879 will ensure that every child receives that same benefit.”
Elissa Holder, an advocacy volunteer for the American Diabetes Association, testified in support of the bill. Her daughter, Melissa attends middle school in Fayetteville and has Type I diabetes.
“We applaud the passage of Georgia House Bill 879, which will provide school children across the state with the acces to diabetes care they need to stay healthy, learn and be safe at school,” Holder said.
An estimated 215,000 children are living with diabetes in the United States. For children using insulin, diabetes must be managed 24/7, including the many hours spent at school, on field trips and in extra-curricular activities. Every day, these children are put in dangerous situations if no one, including a school nurse, is present at school to help with insulin administration.