COVID-19 - Children With Diabetes Returning To School

COVID-19 - Children With Diabetes Returning To School

The NZ Clinical Network for Children and Young People with Diabetes advises that it is safe for children and young people with diabetes to be at school under Alert Levels 1 or 2.

Key points to remember about children with diabetes returning to school

  • schools and early childcare services are open at Alert Levels 1 and 2
  • the recommendation of the NZ Clinical Network for Children and Young People with Diabetes is that it is safe for children and young people with diabetes to be at school at these alert levels 
  • if your region moves to Alert Level 3 or 4, check the alert system overview at the Government's Unite Against COVID-19 website

What is the current situation in New Zealand?

  • the NZ Government's public health measures have been very successful in controlling the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19
  • currently, there are very low numbers of new cases each day despite one of the highest testing rates in the world
  • this suggests that there are currently very low rates of community transmission
  • for parents of children and young people with health conditions, including diabetes, the decision about whether or not to send their children to school is more complex

Can my child or teen with diabetes return to school?

Schools and early childcare services are open at Alert Levels 1 and 2.

It is safe for children and young people with diabetes to be at school at Alert Levels 1 and 2.

The New Zealand Clinical Network for Children and Young People with Diabetes advises that it is safe for children and young people with diabetes to be at school at Alert Levels 1 and 2. If your region moves to Alert Level 3 or 4, check the alert system overview at the Government's Unite Against COVID-19 website.

If your diabetes team said it was safe for your child to go to school before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Clinical Network for Children and Young People with Diabetes is advising that it is now safe for your child to go to school when they are open.

What are the facts about COVID-19 and children?

The advice that it is safe for your child to go to school at Alert Levels 1 and 2 is based on the following facts:

  1. Children are far less likely than adults to contract SARS-CoV-2 infection and the risk of severe COVID-19 disease in those that do is very low.
  2. The evidence suggests that most children and young people with diabetes are not at a significantly higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease than other children and young people of the same age.
  3. The very low rates of community transmission mean that the risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 infection is currently very low. The ready availability of testing and good contact tracing capability mean that we are well placed to isolate and contain outbreaks as they occur.
  4. There is good evidence to suggest that children don't spread SARS-CoV-2 like adults. Child to child transmission is rare. The evidence suggests that it is very unusual for children without symptoms to spread the disease.
  5. The low risk of getting SARS-CoV-2 is likely to last for many months or even longer, depending upon if and when a vaccine becomes available. It is not in children's best interests to exclude them from school indefinitely when the evidence suggests that the risk of developing severe COVID-19 is very low.

The content on this page is based on a statement from the Clinical Network for Children and Young People with Diabetes, Paediatric Society of New Zealand.

This page last reviewed 15 August 2020.
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