Safe at School


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

The law is unclear. The law itself does not make clear if unlicensed staff can administer insulin. The state Board of Education's opinion is that insulin administration by pump may be delegated to unlicensed staff:

QUESTION: Can the school nurse delegate the management of care for children with diabetes who use insulin pumps in school settings? POSITION: […] Care of students with health care needs must be individualized and supervised by a Registered Nurse who is accountable for the care provided. […] Procedures that may be appropriate to delegate include inputting carbohydrate counts and blood sugar levels, and activation of the pump to infuse a pump-calculated insulin bolus, correction, or total dose. […] Inserting a new infusion set, disconnecting and reconnecting tubing, filling and priming a pump are not appropriate to delegate since they involve complex skills. Vermont State Board of Nursing, The Role of the Nurse in the Delegation of Insulin Pumps in School Settings, Position Statement (Jan. 2007).

However, state law is not clear about other types of insulin administration. Even if state law is not clear, 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 Vermont allow school staff members who are not health care professionals to administer glucagon?

The law is unclear, but there is no barrier either. Vermont does not prohibit unlicensed staff from providing "assistance in the case of an emergency or disaster." V.S.A. § 1583. Since glucagon is administered in emergency situations, it should be covered by this general law. It is not clear if nurses can train unlicensed staff in glucagon administration.

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

The law is not clear. The law does discuss diabetes specifically. Vermont school districts can choose to allow students to self-administer emergency medication:

Nothing in this section shall prohibit a public school district or an approved independent school from adopting school policies and individual plans of action regarding the possession and self-administration of emergency medication for medical conditions other than asthma and life-threatening allergies. 16 V.S.A. § 1387(e).

However, the law is silent about diabetes-specific tasks.

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

The law is not clear. As stated above, Vermont school districts can choose to allow students to possess emergency medications such as glucagon.  16 V.S.A. § 1387(e).

For more information, see the following helpful resources: