COVID-19 and School
Liver Mommas & Families has been seeing a lot of discussion in our support group and within the pediatric transplant community regarding how to proceed with school this coming fall. While there hasn’t been a unified response from transplant centers regarding the issue of pediatric transplant patients returning to school, Liver Mommas & Families, Inc. is working closely with our partners to provide you with the latest updates. In the meantime, please refer to your child’s transplant team as each patient may require a different plan of action that is suitable to their individual needs.
While the country has been discussing this issue, it has become clear to me that the organ transplant community is being largely left out of this debate, as are other medically fragile communities with compromised immune systems and underlying health issues. The President and Federal Department of Education are recommending that schools fully reopen in the fall. However, the decision on how and when to reopen will largely be up to individual states and will differ depending on your geographical location.
I contacted the Maryland Department of Education and spoke directly to Student Services and Strategic Planning Section Chief, Lynne Muller, Ph.D, NCC, LCPC to find out how my own state will be handling this issue, and what options are available to us. While Muller believes the possibility of distance learning or a blended instruction program may be offered, she pointed to the state’s Home and Hospital Teaching program in the event that states do reopen in person without distance learning options for high-risk individuals.
To be eligible to participate in this program your child’s doctor must fill out a form verifying medical necessity for each child that you intend to enroll. Online instruction is an option and, for those who are unable to participate online for a variety of reasons, the instruction can be offered through a variety of other avenues, including phone conferences.
If your child has an IEP and receives learning accommodation, you should contact your child’s student support team to coordinate with the Home and Hospital program to offer individualized instruction per your child’s needs. You can find additional information about this in the state of Maryland here: Supplement on Students with Disabilities.
While this information is specific to the state of Maryland, I encourage you to contact your state department of education and inquire about these services, as well as any other options you might be able to pursue regarding your child’s education in the fall. As always, your child’s needs may differ from another pediatric transplant patient’s needs so it is strongly advised that you speak with your child’s doctor or transplant team to see what they recommend before making any final decisions.
Finally, please continue to follow guidelines from medical experts regarding mask-wearing, hand-washing, and social distancing.
Founder / Executive Director
Liver Mommas & Families, Inc.