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.

Requirements

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.

Menstrual 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

Funding

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.

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 received, the number of buildings in each district and students served. Schools and districts received funding allocations for dispensers as part of their Nov. 2023 foundation payment. The dispenser allocations spreadsheet is now available.

Funding for Products  

Effective Oct. 3, 2023, Ohio Law requires each traditional public school district, community school, STEM school and chartered nonpublic school with school buildings that enroll girls in grades six through twelve to provide free menstrual products. To support this requirement, the state operating budget included $3 million to reimburse districts and schools for menstrual products provided.

Schools and districts that have not yet completed a request for menstrual product reimbursement must identify the amount of funding expended on menstrual products 2023-2024 school year and other information using the Menstrual Product Reimbursement Form by June 28 to be eligible.

Only the district or school treasurer, chief financial officer, superintendent, or a school administrator authorized to submit financial information may submit the form to the Department. Each district or school should submit only one form.
The Department will determine the reimbursement amounts based on funds available and reported expenditures. The requested amount may be prorated to stay within the appropriation.

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: 5/27/2024 12:00:38 AM