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Open Access COVID-19 School Closures: Implications for Pediatric Diabetes Management - A Commentary

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This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND licence.

Objective: The United States COVID-19 outbreak shuttered public and private schools, confining more than 55.1 million students to their homes. In this paper, we discuss the unique vulnerabilities faced by families affected by pediatric diabetes as well as structural issues exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: Drawing on clinical and anthropological expertise, we review the unintended consequences of remote schooling for management of pediatric diabetes and other chronic health conditions. Results: We identify multiple barriers to pediatric diabetes care imposed by conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. We propose a 4-tiered policy solution that aims to improve crisis response and to protect the health of children with chronic conditions, like diabetes, long-term. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated wide disruptions to schooling, employment, finances, and transportation, placing enormous burdens on families that care for a child with diabetes. Comprehensive policies supporting integrated diabetes care, student accommodations in remote learning conditions, extended medication supplies, and increased healthcare access would not only prevent adverse outcomes for children with diabetes in crisis settings, but also lay a durable foundation needed to increase health equity of all children living with chronic conditions.

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Keywords: CORONAVIRUS; COVID-19; DIABETES; HEALTH POLICY; PEDIATRICS; SCHOOL HEALTH

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2020

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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