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Diabetes Canada welcomes the recent announcement from the Prince Edward Islands’s Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture. New guidelines for the safe management of diabetes in schools are now being implemented in the PEI school system.

“We have worked very closely with our advocates over the last several years to bring this important issue to the forefront and we’re pleased to see the government take action with new guidelines,” says Jake Reid, senior leader of Government Relations with Diabetes Canada.

Parents and guardians expect children to be full and equal participants in all aspects of school life. However, for many children with diabetes, they are sometimes left out of a full school experience or placed in vulnerable circumstances. To prevent long-term complications and emergency situations, students with diabetes must balance medication, including insulin, food and activity throughout the school day. With support from school personnel, most students can manage their diabetes independently. However, some students are unable to perform diabetes management tasks and may require assistance to administer insulin, monitor blood sugar, or supervise food intake and activity.

"Our government recognizes the need for clear and consistent guidelines to ensure children living with diabetes are protected from potentially life-threatening situations," said Education, Early Learning and Culture Minister Jordan Brown. "We were very pleased to collaborate with our Health partners in the development of the new guidelines and we appreciate the tremendous support of Diabetes Canada."

"Supportive school environments are important for youth living with diabetes," said Health and Wellness Minister Robert Mitchell. "These new guidelines will provide consistent and evidence-based resources, which are critical to ensuring that families and school staff feel confident and well equipped to support students.”

The new guidelines for PEI incorporate many of Diabetes Canada’s recommendations including training for all appropriate school personnel; encourages and allows for an Individual Care Plan (ICP) to be created; school personnel and others (e.g. bus drivers) expected to know/recognize symptoms of hypo/hyperglycemia, and provide assistance if needed.

“As a parent of a child with type 1 diabetes this is wonderful news for the health, safety and emotional well-being of each student with diabetes,” says Angela Rogerson. “There is a role to play for everyone involved in the care of the student to ensure a safe and healthy school experience.”

“Unfortunately, we still have school-age children in other parts of Canada without guidelines or a school policy to keep them safe,” says Reid. Currently, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba still do not have a policy in place to protect children living with diabetes in school. It is important that all children with diabetes be afforded the same protections and given the same opportunities to succeed, no matter where they live or attend school.

“My son was diagnosed in grade three and has since graduated from school. I can speak from experience that these guidelines will help many kids and families and prevent serious health consequences such as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar),” says Liz MacArthur. “As an advocate for the parents and children living with diabetes, I welcome these new guidelines that will help ensure the safety of all children living with diabetes while at school.” 

Category Tags: Announcements;

Region: Prince Edward Island

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