8/27/2020
COVID-19 & Kids:
Berrie Center Clinicians Answer Back-to-School Questions

Clearly, Covid-19 is on all of our minds.  In the article below, the Berrie Center’s pediatric endocrinologists answer some of the most pressing questions about returning to school and more. Please understand these answers are based on current knowledge of Covid-19 and children. Currently, cases in the New York City region are low, but there continue to be cases and clusters of Covid-19 outbreaks. Vigilance is essential. 

“As always, good diabetes control is the goal and frequent visits with your doctor and educator are very important now,” said Dr. Natasha Leibel, head of the Berrie Center’s pediatric team. 

Berrie Center clinicans are available via virtual visits to discuss patient-specific questions. For assistance scheduling an appointment please call 212-851-5494. 

Should my child go back so school? 

It is the opinion of the Berrie Center’s pediatric endocrinologists that children with type 1 diabetes (T1D) or type 2 diabetes (T2D) can and should go to school if it is an option in their district. Based on the science, and what we know at this moment in time, the majority of our patients can return to school. The exceptions to that rule include children with T1D who may have other medical conditions that need to be taken into consideration, and those that live in close quarters with others at high risk of Covid-19-related complications as defined by the CDC.  

Can my child play sports? 

Ultimately, the decision to place a child in organized sports belongs to the parents, and should take into account factors as mentioned above regarding the whole household.  Prolonged, close contact with a person infected with Covid-19 is the highest risk for transmission, so the sport (number of players, spacing, frequency and duration of contact) and setting (indoor vs. outdoor, size and ventilation of facility) will influence risk of infection.  

Activities where there is more ease for distancing and occur in well-ventilated areas are going to be much lower risk than activities that occur in enclosed indoor spaces and require close contact among players. Here is guidance from the CDC:  

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/youth-sports.html 

How about playdates/hangouts? 

We advise having outdoor playdates and gatherings for ALL PEOPLE for as long as possible.  Risk of transmission is much lower outdoors (although not negligible). Even outdoors it is best to stay 6 feet apart. If playdates move indoors, it is advisable to understand precautions taken by and recent travel of family members in the house your child is going into.  Wearing a mask indoors will reduce risk, and staying 6 feet apart is important.  The highest risk for infection is prolonged close contact in an enclosed space with someone who has Covid-19.  An infected individual may be asymptomatic and still spread the virus. Frequent hand hygiene is also very important.  

Outbreaks in young people around the country are frequently a result of socializing in indoor settings where there is no social distancing, such as house parties and in bars.  We advise that parents have very honest and open conversations with teens about the implications of their behavior and expectations as a family.   

 How about carpools? 

 In a situation where people need to be close, such as a carpool, all people should wear masks in the car and windows should be open.   

 Should my child get a flu shot when it is available? 

 YES!  We cannot stress this enough. Get a flu shot as soon as it is available.