Coronavirus & T1D

Resources & Support to Help Us Through

Michelle MacPhee, D-Mom

Information and ideas to equip us to teach our kids at home, deal with boredom, find purpose, and cope with illness + type 1 diabetes. Check back over the coming weeks – new information will be added as it becomes available. Have you come across a useful tidbit or creative resource??? Feel free to reach out!

My husband, Dean, has a saying: “It is what it is.” In the 20 years since we first met, by his example he has been teaching me this lesson in acceptance, a lesson that is much needed in this current global public health crisis. When it comes to this new coronavirus and the illness it causes, we do well to accept its arrival in the life of our communities. It is what it is. No amount of denial nor anxiety, stockpiling nor procrastinating, under-reacting nor over-reacting will change the fact that our lives have changed. 

But we can choose how we deal with these changes. We can equip ourselves with information. We can take action to prepare. We can reach out to help those around us. We can look at the current situation not just as a crisis (which it is – my heart and prayers go out to all who have been affected physically, emotionally and financially!) but also as an opportunity within the crisis. An opportunity to slow down, to take a break from the demanding schedules that may rule our “normal” lives. No dance? No soccer? No bike class? No school?  Our time as a family is now wide open, for us to choose how we spend it. We have the flexibility to learn more about what we are most interested in (reptiles, the constellations, what the surface of Mars looks like – we can even learn language arts and the parts of speech with Gudetama Mad Libs – who knew that was a thing? My daughter was thrilled!)  We have an opportunity to play family games and watch movies together.

We have an opportunity to take of ourselves: physically (time to do that back-strengthening DVD I’ve had for over a year! Go for walks, cook good food together); emotionally (journaling + a soak in the tub, anyone?); spiritually (I have more time to pray the Rosary, to watch videos on Formed) and socially (the need for “social distancing” has reminded us how connected we are, how we are social beings – why not call or Facetime someone you haven’t talked to in a while? Check in on friends and family.)

We also have time to prepare ourselves by reviewing Sick Day Guidelines for managing type 1 diabetes during illness, for informing ourselves about the facts of T1D & Coronavirus, and looking up some educational resources so that our kids can continue Learning at Home.

Most of all, we can choose to see the blessings. They’re there for each of us to find.

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Sick Day Guidelines

Like me, many parents are concerned about the novel coronavirus and the potential for covid-19 illness. Although our T1D kids aren’t at any greater risk to become infected, the complications if they become ill (from any source) could be serious. So there’s no greater time than now to brush up on info for managing diabetes during illness, such as:

As with any illness, if you are concerned about your child’s symptoms, please contact your doctor or diabetes health care team, especially if you are having trouble keeping blood sugar within a safe range, if ketones persist despite treatment, if your child has difficulty breathing, or if your child is sleepier than usual.

T1D and Coronavirus

From JDRF:

JDRF Canada provides reassurance and information for the type 1 diabetes community about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the illness it causes, COVID-19. The article T1D and Coronavirus tells us What Someone with T1D Should Know about Having a Viral Illness, including practical tips on how to keep up your carbohydrate intake in a healthy way, and what to keep in mind about over the counter medications.

From Diabetes Canada (DC):

Diabetes Canada offers:

From Medtronic Diabetes (Canada):

Our friends at Medtronic Diabetes (Canada) have assembled this set of educational, practical and financial resources to help families living with diabetes and their health care teams to successfully navigate the coronavirus-related challenges we’re currently facing. Some of the links below apply to current and potential users of Medtronic insulin pumps/CGM; some apply to everyone: 


1.     Visit the CareLink™ Software support page for resources.

2.     Use our step-by-step CareLink™ Uploader guide.  Get the PDF here.

3.     We’ve created a new support video. Video: CareLink™ – getting started at home.

4.     Call our 24-hour Technical Support Line anytime at 1-800-284-4416.


Our friends at Diabetes Canada recently hosted a Healthcare professional Webinar. 

Dr. Michael Vallis discusses evidence-based coping strategies that can be implemented within scope of practice to mitigate stress-induced non-adherence and describes diabetes specific risks and how to manage them during the pandemic. 

Diabetes Management in the age of COVID-19: How Do We Help People Maintain Focus on Self-Management?  Watch the recording. (external link)


Medtronic is driven by our mission to contribute to human welfare by alleviating pain, restoring health and extending life.  We are working to ensure we provide the right support at the right time.  As such, we have implemented several support initiatives. 

EDUCATION & SUPPORT VIDEOS.  We are increasing our online resources to support you and your patients virtually.  We have launched a new educational video series – with topics ranging from feeling supported during isolation, to assistance with CareLink™ at home, exercise 101, and CGM tips and tricks.  Watch them here.

MEDTRONIC ASSURANCE.  Medtronic Assurance is our commitment to providing options during these challenging times. From receiving access to supplies at a lower cost to flexible payment plans, we’ll work to find the right program for your patients. 

We recently announced the COVID-19 Payment Relief program to support customers who have lost employment or private health insurance during this time.  Eligible customers can receive 3-months of supplies and/or glucose sensors at no cost.  Terms and conditions apply.

CLICK HERE for details on the COVID-19 payment relief program and all other Medtronic Assurance programs.


A MISSION THAT GOES BEYOND OUR DIABETES TEAM. We are working hard to support healthcare professionals, patients, our employees, and global communities. Read our latest statement and get updates here.

THANK YOU  for your dedication in these challenging times.  We are sending thoughts of support and safety to you & your families. We are here to support you in any way we can.

Kindest Regards,

Sandra Lueders

Diabetes Territory Manager, Medtronic Canada

Fun & Learning at Home

Separate from diabetes care, as classes are cancelled for many kids across Canada, as parents we may wonder, What do I do now? What do I teach them? As we wait for direction from school boards, or to fill in the blanks even if you already have an educational strategy for home, here are some resources to battle boredom, follow your children’s interests, establish a schedule, and keep minds sharp.

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Art & Creativity:


Jarrett Lerner

  • Paint a Rock: (and other inspirations from Ideas and Fun Home and Garden Website)


  • Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes for creative and curious people, on topics including illustration, design, photography, video, freelancing, and more. On Skillshare, millions of members come together to find inspiration and take the next step in their creative journey.

Random Fun (tech-free) Learning Opportunities:

Kim Jones McClelland offers this creative and quirky tech-free list (I especially love Stay up late and stargaze!):

“Teacher friends, who may be thinking about how they are going to plan to deliver education over the next number of weeks.  Here is a really great list I found in a Principal’s group that DOES NOT require technology and the internet. Now  that many schools are closed, I’ve got some suggestions for fun,  meaningful, and generally tech-free learning opportunities (especially  for elementary schoolers)”:

    • Interview a family member.
    • Measure the area and perimeter of each room in your home.
    • Graph the types of birds that frequent your yard or windows.
    • Be completely silent for 60 minutes, then write about the experience.
    • Write and mail a [real] letter to your teacher or principal or classroom penpal.  Address the envelope yourself.
    • Build a “fable fort” out of blankets and chairs.  Camp in it all day while you create stories to tell your family over dinner.
    • Learn Morse code and use it to communicate with your siblings through walls and floors.
    • Alphabetize the spices in your kitchen.
    • Stay up late and stargaze.
    • Call a grandparent or older relative.  Ask them to teach you the words to a song from their childhood days.
    • Using household materials, build a working rain gauge, barometer, and wind vane.
    • Determine and chart the times that different liquids require to turn solid in the freezer.
    • Design and build puppets that perform a show about multiplication.
    • Construct a family tree.
    • Learn ten new big words.  Write them in marker on your bathroom mirror.
    • Draw a map of your home.
    • Sit silently for 15 minutes while you write down every sound you hear.   When you are done, classify the sounds (high/low pitch, high/low  volume, manmade v. naturally occurring, etc.).
    • Create a Venn  Diagram that compares and contrasts two people in your family, your  neighborhood, or your church, mosque, or temple.
    • Learn, practice, and perform a magic trick.
    • Learn, practice, and tell three new jokes.
    • Use household materials to make and play stringed, percussion, and wind instruments.
    • Learn to shine a pair of shoes.
    • Collect leaves from ten different (non-harmful) plants.  Sort them by size, color, and texture.
    • Put your favorite book, toy, and keepsake on a small table in sunlight.  Draw or paint a full color still life.
    • Find, pick, and dissect a flower.
    • If you have stairs, walk up and count them.  Walk down and count by twos.  Walk up and count by threes.  Continue through tens.
    • Determine the volumes of ten containers, them display them in order on your porch.
    • Write a poem on your sidewalk using chalk.
    • Classify twenty everyday objects by shape, size, color, height, mass, and material.
      Measure the length of your bed using five different nonstandard units.
    • Call a person who speaks a language you do not.  Ask them to teach you five common words or phrases.
    • Create and use a secret code.
    • Using one type of paper (constant), build three different paper  airplanes (independent variable) and test to see how far they fly  (dependent variable).
    • Set a clock three hours and seven minutes  ahead.  Whenever someone needs to know the time, help them figure it out by subtracting.
    • Write down every adjective you say for one full day.
    • Learn three new jokes.  Tell them to an aunt or uncle.
    • Design a map of every state ever visited by people in your family.
    • Write or tell a story titled “What if humans had to leave the Earth and no one remembered to turn off the last robot?”
    • Find ten rocks smaller than a dime.
    • Using paper, tape, and string, design, build, and test a device that warns you when someone opens the kitchen cabinet.
    • Imagine, create, and fly a full size flag that tells the world about you.

Source: Kim Jones McClelland

Learning at Home:

⇒ My friend and fellow D-mom, Melissa Zimmerman, posted this wonderful and growing list of Home Education Resources to her Facebook page.

⇒ (creator Holly Homer lives in Texas) offers this list of Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions Due to School Closings.

⇒ From (the amazing!) grade 5/6 teachers at Belfast School in Calgary (these are personal recommendations from the well-informed teachers, not official CBE recommendations):

Online Read aloud from authors:

Interesting websites for at home learning:

Educational Companies Offering Free Subscriptions


ST Math, a web-based visual instructional program that leads to deep conceptual understanding of math, is providing free access to their ST Math Homeschool program from now through June 30th for families across the US and Canada. You can access this offer at At the end of that period, you can choose whether or not you’d like to purchase a subscription to ST Math – we will not collect your payment information or autobill you.

Solve Me Mobile:

90-day free trial:

Khan Academy:

Kentucky Center for Mathematics: Caregiver Math Resources for COVID-19 School Closures

Math & Science: Interesting science and math videos related to our current situation:

Virtual Field Trips

For our parents who are tackling the challenge of learning from home Alison Van Rosedaal has shared some great reminders & suggestions. Key Message: “Children are resilient. Learning is their default state.” ​

Be active! When you feel restless, do a 1-minute workout.

Remember to take time to get outside, notice and appreciate the things around you and explore ideas and passions that you haven’t had a chance to.

Creating New Routines:

⇒ My friend, Berney, found this suggested schedule on Facebook. Adapt it as you like to fit your family. (And be sure to take some UNscheduled rest time, a real spring break with downtime for everyone. be gentle with yourselves. 🙂 We’re taking this week to rest, watch TV, go on screens, go for walks – just generally take it easy.)

This material has been developed from sources that we believe are accurate, however, as the field of medicine (in particular as it applies to diabetes) is rapidly evolving, the information should not be relied upon, as it is designed for informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of medical advice, instruction and/or treatment. If you have specific questions, please consult your doctor or appropriate health care professional.

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