Diabetes: When Your Child Should Stay Home from School

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This guide will help you know when your child should stay home from school for reasons related to their diabetes and how to get a school excuse.
Children with diabetes should not have more sick days than other students. It is important that they go to school every day. If your child is absent often, it may be harder for them to keep up with their class.

When to Keep Your Child Home

Your child may be too sick to go to school if they have:

  • Thrown up (vomited) and have ketones in their urine, or
  • Had severe low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) that needed multiple treatments to get back to their normal target range.
  • Treated with glucagon at any time that day.

When Your Child Should Stay at School

Your child should stay at school and not be sent home sick:

  • For high and low blood glucose that has been treated.
  • For ketones in the urine that have been treated.

How and When You Can Get a School Excuse

Per Nationwide Children’s Hospital Policy:

  • Call the diabetes endocrinology department or your child’s diabetes health care team on the same day that your child is sick. If someone is not available, leave a message with your name, your child’s name and date of birth, and a phone number where they can reach you. Explain why you are asking for a school excuse.
  • The diabetes health care provider will help you decide if your child should stay home. If they agree that it is best for your child to stay home, they will send you a school excuse.
  • You must call each day that your child needs a school excuse. A team member will only send an excuse if needed, for that day.
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital cannot give a school excuse to miss school for a day or to excuse your child for being late (tardy) to school:
    • After the day the illness has passed.
    • For any future days that your child might miss.
  • Your child will always get a school excuse for the day of their medical appointments.
  • For illness not due to diabetes, call your child’s primary care doctor or health care provider.

Some Things to Remember:

  • You will always be given a school excuse for the day of your child’s diabetes clinic appointment.
  • Your child should not be kept home or sent home from school for a reason related to diabetes, except for the symptoms mentioned above.
    • High and low blood glucose needs to be treated, but there is not a specific blood glucose value that means your child automatically needs to be sent home.
    • In most cases, ketones without vomiting can be treated at school.
  • If the school is sending your child home when it’s not needed, talk to the school’s nurse or principal. Your child’s diabetes doctor or health care team can help talk to the school too.

504 Plan or an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

Children with diabetes are legally eligible for a 504 plan. They may also have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). These plans ensure that children with disabilities get special help (accommodations) to succeed in school.
If your child has one of these plans:

  • It does not guarantee that they will get a medical excuse to miss something at school.
  • If they get a medical excuse and have a 504 plan or IEP, they will still need to make up any work they missed.


Diabetes: When Your Child Should Stay Home from School (PDF)

HH-IV-187 • ©2017, revised 2023 • Nationwide Children's Hospital