Menstrual Products in Schools
To increase student wellness and address barriers that prevent students from engaging in learning, schools and districts are now required to provide feminine hygiene (menstrual) products for students in grades six through twelve. In the 2022-23 school year, there were over 476,000 female students in grades six through twelve that this new requirement will impact.
Effective Oct. 3, 2023, Ohio Law requires each traditional public school district, community school, STEM school, chartered nonpublic school and other public school with school buildings that enroll girls in grades six through twelve to provide free menstrual products. Schools may choose to provide free products to a broader range of grade levels. By providing access to free menstrual products, schools eliminate a barrier to regular attendance and promote healthy habits.
Menstrual Product Dispensers
Each school or district can determine where menstrual products are stored and dispensed in the school. When deciding where to place dispensers, consider whether the location allows for discreet, easy access to products where students need to use them.
Schools or districts may choose different types of dispensers, including mechanical wall units, countertop baskets, freestanding storage drawers or any unit that can store and provide products. Schools can determine the type of dispensers based on their needs including number of school buildings and students served. Schools may also replace dispensers or convert paid dispensers to offer free products.
Each school or district can determine the types of menstrual products offered. Menstrual products include tampons, panty liners, sanitary napkins and other products in connection with the human menstrual cycle. As best practice, each school or district may provide a variety of products with consideration of absorbency and size. Schools may also choose to provide age-appropriate guidance on how to use and dispose of products to avoid risks to student’s health and safety.
For additional information on menstrual hygiene, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the Menstrual Hygiene webpage.
The recently enacted state operating budget includes $5 million to support schools in providing free menstrual products for students. This consists of $2 million for installing dispensers and $3 million for product reimbursement. School districts, community schools, STEM schools, and nonpublic charter schools will be able to request reimbursement for the purchase of menstrual products in the Spring of 2024. Schools will need to provide the total amount spent on products for reimbursement. The Department will determine reimbursement amounts based enrollment and need. The Department will provide details on how to request reimbursement in the Spring of 2024.
Schools and districts may develop a plan that addresses sustainability beyond initial funds. Sustainability plans can include an exploration of partnerships with local public health departments, healthcare agencies or nonprofit organizations who support providing free products in schools.
funding for Dispensers
Although schools and districts are not required to install product dispensers, each district was eligible to submit a request for funding to purchase and install dispensers by Sept 15. The Department determined allocations based on the requests recieved, the number of buildings in each district and students served. Schools and districts are expected to receive funding allocations for dispensers in Nov. The spreadsheet of dispenser allocations is linked below:
Funding for Products
School districts, community schools, STEM schools, and nonpublic charter schools will be able to request reimbursement for the purchase of menstrual products in the spring of 2024. Schools will need to provide the total amount spent on products for reimbursement. The Department will determine reimbursement amounts based enrollment and need. The Department will provide details on how to request reimbursement in the spring.
Engaging the School Community
Schools and districts can engage staff, students and families in the planning and implementation process to ensure they are meeting student needs and keeping the school community informed. A workgroup can help develop recommendations for the types and accessibility of menstrual products and dispensers. The workgroup can also consider whether the school should provide supplemental education around menstruation to support healthy behaviors.
Last Modified: 10/24/2023 7:59:53 AM