Ontario draft policy should help students with type 1 diabetes
This October, the Ontario Ministry of Education published a new draft Policy Program Memorandum (PPM) aimed at keeping students with four prevalent medical conditions (anaphylaxis, asthma, epilepsy and diabetes) safer at school. This represents an important step forward as for the first time all Ontario school boards will be required to have board-level policies.
The PPM lays out specific criteria that boards will need to include in their policies, including a requirement that schools work with parents to develop individual plans of care for each student who has one of the prevalent medical conditions. It sets a deadline of next fall for boards to have policies in place.
The absence of a province-wide policy has been a source of some concern for Ontario parents of children with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Many schools and school boards have been reluctant to put policies in place, leaving parents struggling to find some reassurance that their children would get the support and care they need. It is hoped the new policy will clarify the roles and responsibilities of school staff with respect to both daily and emergency care.
JDRF met with ministry personnel this summer and has been working with the Diabetes @ School coalition led by Diabetes Canada, the Canadian Paediatric Society, and the Canadian Pediatric Endocrine Group. The coalition is calling for province-wide policies that address the day-to-day management of diabetes in schools, set out the roles and responsibilities of parents and school personnel, and establish emergency protocols.
Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, PEI and the three territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut) still lack province-wide policies on diabetes in schools.