Back to School with the Immunocompromised with COVID-19
Going back to school, while still only in stage three of COVID-19, is stressful for any parent. However, households that are occupied by someone who is immunocompromised have an even greater reason to worry.
The fact that it has taken quite some time for the school boards to release their plans, to keep children and their families safe from the pandemic, has added unease, uncertainty, and a whole host of new questions about virus protection. The situation is continuously evolving, and we must keep our fingers on the pulse of this situation.
How are school boards planning to re-open schools safely for the immunocompromised during COVID-19?
CTV News has published this article, which succinctly outlines each Toronto district school board’s plan on how to reopen. Each school board has its plan, and each plan is slightly different, so they may vary in your area depending on where you live.
This is all well and good; however, these outlines seem to address safety concerns for the general public. Little has been published on what extra precautions are needed to reduce the risk of exposure for immunocompromised children or for children who live with an immunocompromised family member.
School Boards in provinces outside of Ontario will have different plans, and we encourage you to look into what your school board has available in terms of information.
One commonality that seems to be taking place is regardless of the school board, each child and parent have the right to opt-out of in-person lessons during the pandemic and choose to continue their education from the safety of their own homes.
Are there any special protocols for people who are immunocompromised within the plans to open schools safely during COVID-19?
The only reference we could find in regards to how action will be taken for children and families who are immunocompromised in Ontario was this clause from Ontario.ca’s website. Here it states that: School boards should support accommodations for immunocompromised and otherwise medically vulnerable students, and students with special transportation needs (e.g., arrange a separate vehicle, assign seating at front of school bus).
This is the only mention made regarding to the immunocompromised and the reopening of schools.
**We recognize that this situation is still currently evolving, if you have any more information on this topic, please email us your tip at firstname.lastname@example.org and, we will update this article accordingly.**
If you are immunocompromised, stay home from school
CDHF advises patients who are immunocompromised (so if you have IBD or are on any drug that suppresses your immune system) to please utilize your right to opt-out of in-person classes and stay home if you are able. Use the online platform that your school board recommends.
We recognize that this is impossible for some due to social-economic reasons, and there is no one size fits all answer to this approaching problem. In these extreme cases, we encourage you to reach out to your child’s school directly and have a conversation with both your child’s teachers and principals about the fact that you have someone in your household who is at risk, whether that person is you, your child, or someone else who lives in your home.
Nothing is more important than your health
We urge immunocompromised families to prioritize their health above and beyond anything else. Please protect yourself and stay safe. If you absolutely must return to in-person classes and you or someone you love is immunocompromised, please check out our other resources on COVID-19 and the best ways to prevent infection.
You can see all we have to offer on this topic by clicking here.
Ways to take action and ask for smaller class sizes and more concrete plans for those at risk:
You can sign this petition asking the government to reduce class sizes for elementary children in the back-to-school plan -> Sign this petition
Call your school board representative and let them know your concerns.
Tell us your thoughts on schools reopening and upcoming resources on this topic:
We have an article in the works from the perspective of an immunocompromised teacher. Keep an eye out for that! We’re also interested in what you think about the situation. Are you immunocompromised? Is your child? Let us know if you would like to contribute your thoughts on the subject. Please send us your story at email@example.com to be featured.