Having Half a Working Heart and returning to school. – Covid-19.
Many LHM members, and in some cases their teachers, have been asking questions about the return to school of children with single ventricle heart disease. Children with half a working heart have mainly been highlighted as vulnerable, some as extremely vulnerable, throughout the first months of the Covid crisis and have only recently stepped out of shielding. Clear information about how Covid-19 might affect their return to school and the actions needed to keep them safe is needed to support them at school and to help their families have the confidence to send them back in September.
Health Care Plans
Every child with a complex heart condition must have a Health Care Plan, HCP, in place at school. It needs to contain information on the risks and actions needed by the school relating to all aspects of a child’s time in school and playground. Some children may need the added support of an Education and Health Care Plan. An added paragraph about the response needed for Covid-19. LHM’s information on HCP’s can be found by clicking here.
Question put to the British Congenital Cardiac Association and the Congenital Cardiac Clinical Reference Group.
WE are receiving question after question from the members about the safe return of children to school in September. It is clear from the teachers we work with that social distancing will be impossible when schools reopen as they will have all pupils back at the same time. We are eager to get the CHD children back to school but the last statement from the BCCA and CRG state that it was ok to return to school if social distancing measures are in place. Do you have any new or updated advice that we can pass on to our members.
We have a great deal of information to support Health Care Plans and general awareness in schools but teachers are asking for specific Covid advice. As the current BCCA information requires social distancing it has led to some worry with members and teachers alike to the point where some schools will not accept a child back unless there is individual advice.
I am sure that this will be a question that all cardiac teams are being asked so it would be helpful for everyone to get a national consensus as soon as possible.
The UK government has provided detailed information on return to school which can be found by clicking here.
This guidance includes return to school of children who are shielding.
Updated shielding guidance can be found by clicking here.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has provided guidance on return to school, click here.
Children with single ventricle circulation would fit into group B of this guidance, which was cross-checked with the published BCCA guidance. This guidance indicates that an individualised assessment is required for children in the single ventricle group.
- Cardiologists and Paediatrician feel that most children with a single ventricle heart condition should be returning to school in September, in line with the Royal College of Paediatrician and Child Health, RCPCH, recommendations.
- They advise that parents should contact their cardiac teams to seek individual information about returning to school and for that advice to be added to their Health Care Plans.
- All children with a single ventricle heart condition should have a Health Care Plan, HCP in place.