Diabetes and return to school during COVID-19
We know this is a difficult time for parents and kids. There’s no guidebook for parenting or attending school during a pandemic. Whether you are returning to school in person or virtually, these tips can help keep your kiddo healthy and happy during the transition.
Have general questions about COVID-19 and diabetes management? Check out our latest post here.
Back to school during COVID-19: Diabetes care with Dr. Nelson
Am I at increased risk because of my diabetes?
Diabetes does not increase your risk of contracting coronavirus. If you do become sick, it can be more difficult to manage your diabetes.
What can I do to stay healthy at school?
The CDC recommends frequent handwashing or use of hand sanitizer, cleaning high touch surfaces, avoiding crowds and maintaining a social distancing of 6 feet from others:
- Will your school allow and promote handwashing, as often as needed? Will the school provide hand sanitizer or are you expected to provide your own?
- How often will the school be cleaning common areas and your desk space?
- What is your school’s plan for use of the nurse’s office? Will children who display symptoms be quarantined to a different area than children who need to receive medication?
- What is your school’s plan for implementing social distancing during class time, meals and bus rides?
How should I prepare to return to school? It is important to have diabetes management supplies at school.
We recommend keeping a small supply in the nurse’s office – no more than one month’s supply to ensure you don’t run out at home. More than ever, it is important to provide your school nurse with supplies (list below) in a plastic container with your name on it.
Supplies for the school nurses’ office:
- Pen needles or syringes
- Alcohol wipes
- Blood glucose test strips
- Ketone test strips
- Glucose tablets, juice boxes or other low treatment
- Snack with protein/fat like granola bar, jerky, PB crackers
- Insulin pump and CGM supplies (if used)
I’m doing virtual school. How should I prepare?
Beyond the CDC’s recommendations of frequent handwashing, avoiding touching your face, cleaning high touch surfaces, avoiding crowds and keeping a social distance of 6 feet, it is helpful to consider the following:
- Can you maintain a schedule?
- Schedules can help manage class assignments and your diabetes!
- When blood glucose checks, insulin dosing, meals and snacks are part of a routine, they become more doable and we see that time-in-range and A1C improve.
- What can diabetes supervision and support look like for you at home?
- Many parents and caregivers are not able to be home throughout the day, and it is helpful to have supervision of diabetes management tasks.
- You may want to consider your child’s age, length of diagnosis, history of management (A1C, honesty, etc.) when making the decision about whether they participate in remote learning.
- Do you have a plan for peer interaction, while social-distancing?
- Many of our patients report that the most difficult part of COVID has been not being able to see friends. From a mental health perspective, it is important to prioritize these connections, in a safe way.
Other diabetes and COVID-19 resources