Safe at School

Rhode Island

1. Does Rhode Island allow school staff members who are not health care professionals to administer insulin?

No. Regulations for the Nurse Practice Act do not allow non-professionals to administer medication. CRIR 14-000-011 § 20.4. Regardless, federal laws may allow unlicensed staff to provide this care. This may be necessary so that children with diabetes can access education just like any other child. In case of a conflict between federal and state laws, federal laws 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 Rhode Island allow school staff members who are not health care professionals to administer glucagon?

Yes. Rhode Island specifically allows volunteer school staff to administer glucagon when a school nurse is not present:

… a parent or legal guardian of any child may expressly authorize school employees or those employed on behalf of the school, for when there is no school nurse immediately available, to administer glucagon on such child in case of an emergency, while at school or school-sponsored activities. CRIR 14-000-011 § 19.

3. Does Rhode Island allow students to self-manage diabetes at school?

Yes. School districts must have a policy that allows students with diabetes to self-manage diabetes care in the classroom, and any other appropriate area:

Each school district shall develop a policy or protocol that allows children who are diagnosed with diabetes to self-manage their disease whenever possible. […]Such policy or protocol shall require no less than the following: […] Permitting self-testing in the classroom or other appropriate place(s) on the school campus or at school-sponsored activities […] CRIR 14-000-011 § 19.

4. Does Rhode Island allow students to carry diabetes supplies such as needles, insulin, and blood glucose testing devices?

Yes. School districts must develop a policy that allows students to self-carry prescription medication:

All school districts or authorities shall develop protocols or procedures to permit students to self-carry and/or self-administer prescription medication if the student, parent, certified school nurse-teacher or registered nurse, and licensed prescribing health care provider enter into a written agreement that specifies the conditions under which the prescription medication must be self-carried and/or self-administered. CRIR 14-000-011 § 20.

For more information, see the following helpful resources: