With schools going in and out of lockdowns around Australia many parents and carers of children with type 1 diabetes may be wanting to know if it is safe for their child to return to school.
Attending school has a positive impact on children’s mental, emotional and social wellbeing as well as supporting their education and learning outcomes. It’s understandable that many parents may be worried about if they should send their child back to school. The decision to send your child back to school is a personal one for you as a parent or carer. It is recommended you consult with the clinical treating team of your child and refer to the latest State/Territory education policy/advice when making the decision about whether to send their child back to school.
Diabetes treating teams are encouraging parents and carers to ensure that their child has had their flu shot, has a sick day management plan in place, and to follow health advice about physical distancing and hygiene at school. The Department of Health, and State Education Departments have put policies and procedures in place around hygiene and physical distancing to help schools stay safe. (1, 2)
There will also be extra steps taken if your child requires help to carry out their diabetes self-care tasks. Some useful information on hygiene can be found here.
Talk with your school about the new policies and procedures they have in place to help keep your child safe.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation has recommended that children with diabetes aged 12-15 be prioritised for vaccination using the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as part of phase 1b of the vaccine rollout. (3)
What can you do to reduce your child’s risk?
- Do not send your child to school if they are sick or have even mild symptoms
- Make sure that your child knows to tell you or a teacher if they feel sick
- Take time to discuss and practice good hygiene with your child at home so they will know what to do when at school. Good resources on hygiene can be found here
What if you are still concerned?
The decision to send your child back to school is a personal one for you as a parent. If you still have concerns and are unsure if your child should be returning to school please speak with your child’s diabetes treating team for further advice.
Links to State Education Departments
- ACT (Australian Capital Territory) Education Directorate
- Department of Education NSW (New South Wales)
- Department of Education Northern Territory Government
- Department of Education Queensland Government
- Department of Education Government of South Australia
- Department of Education Tasmanian Government
- Department of Education and Training Victoria State Government
- Department of Education Government of Western Australia
- Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment (21st July 2021). Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for schools and students. Link HERE
- Australian Government Department of Health. (24th April 2020). Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advice on reducing the potential risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools. Link HERE
- Australian Government Department of Health. (2nd August 2021). ATAGI statement regarding vaccination of adolescents aged 12–15 years. Link: HERE