Minnesota Guidelines for Medication Administration in Schools - May 2005

(Updated: September 2005)

Maternal and Child Health Section graphic of an outline of a parent with a child in the middle of the outline of Minnesota.


New Guidelines for Managing Medicines in Schools Now Available to Schools, Families and Health Care Providers - May 2005

First-ever statewide guidelines will help ensure safe administration of prescription and non-prescription medications

Everyday in Minnesota schools, students’ kindergarten through 12th grade may need or be required to take medications. These students may require one or more of approximately 200 medicines used to treat conditions ranging from asthma to diabetes to cystic fibrosis.

The new Minnesota Guidelines for Medication Administration were designed to make sure these medications are being administered safely and appropriately. The guidelines were developed collaboratively by the Minnesota Departments of Education, Health, and Human Services; the Minnesota Board of Nursing; and a statewide multidisciplinary work group.

“These guidelines provide a valuable tool for schools, families and health care providers alike,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dianne Mandernach. “They will help ensure appropriate administration of medication in school, which will then help enhance attendance and reduce a potential barrier to learning.”

The guidelines are intended for school districts, school boards, principals, health educators, parents, students, school nurses and school paraprofessionals. The guidelines provide a uniform framework for safely administering prescription and nonprescription medications, and they address a number of key issues, including:

  • What every parent and student in Minnesota can expect regarding safe administration of medications in schools.
  • Guiding principles and resources for school districts to consider when developing, reviewing and revising medication policies and procedures.
  • A safe and appropriate approach to administering medications to students with conditions such as asthma, diabetes, seizure conditions, allergies (food and environmental), cystic fibrosis, ADHD, short-term illness or infections, whether they are in school or participating in school-related events.

    “I am so impressed. The material is so well organized and accessible as a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on School Health I will be very proud to recommend this site as a benchmark. You have done a wonderful job,” said Michael Severson MD, FAAP, District Vice-Chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Brainerd Pediatrician.

At the request of the 2001 Minnesota Legislature, the Minnesota Department of Health, in consultation with other partners, studied “student health and safety in relation to administering medications in schools and addressing the changing health needs of students.” The “Report to the Minnesota Legislature: Medications Dispensed in Schools Study,” January 2002 recommended, among other initiatives, the design of a statewide system for the safe administration of prescription and nonprescription medications in schools. The Minnesota Guidelines for Medication Administration in Schools is the result of this recommendation.

The complete guidelines can be found at www.health.state.mn.us/divs/cfh/shs/pubs/medadmin/

Cheryl Smoot
Community and Family Health Division
651 281-9961