Updated: Feb 10
"The team at Invicta National Academy not only wants to play a part in the nation's educational recovery but to be central to it"
Children that get Covid can develop Long Covid, just like the adults. The disabling symptoms can make attending school difficult.
Hours of education have been lost as our children fight to recover from Long Covid.
Attendance ability varies from child to child. With some children attending just a couple of hours a day and some children unable to attend school at all.
Current government information states;
"You can return to your normal routine and stop self-isolating after ten full days if your symptoms have gone, or if the only symptoms you have are a cough or anosmia, which can last for several weeks. If you still have a high temperature after ten days or are otherwise unwell, stay at home and seek medical advice"
We are unable to find any NHS advice on returning to school with ongoing Long Covid symptoms and are often denied medical advice.
The Department for Education has not yet issued a code that enables schools to register a child with Long Covid absent.
This hurdle poses an ongoing problem for families with children who have disabling ongoing Covid symptoms.
Schools state children must attend (when they are open) and also that they are unable to offer 'special' provision for the ongoing learning of our kids.
Parents report their experience with schools;
"They asked us what is Long Covid?"
"We were told we are unable to offer anything other than a place to sit in the library, we just don't have the staff"
"Our daughter has been offered the option of putting a post-it note on her table to let the teacher know if she needs to zone out"
"I was asked to provide a letter from my GP I requested this three times, final time in writing, I still don’t have that letter"
"School said we would not send work home, your child should return to school"
"We would not send work home, your child should return to school"
"We've had letters about my daughter threatening a visit from the Education Welfare Officer and an unannounced home visit too from the attendance officer. They clearly don't believe in Long Covid and are treating us as if we're being purposely obstructive"
"They say your child needs to try harder each day"
" School can’t get past thinking it’s anxiety/mental rather than physical it is driving me nuts"
"They tell us to send your child to school and we will call you when they have had enough, they need to try"
"Our secondary school was dismissive saying she’s in school so we don’t really need to know that’s she’s exhausted/struggling to breathe/having excruciating stomach pains"
Parents are managing the care of their children at home, often without meaningful medical support, and experiencing Medical Gaslighting.
In the same way adults with Long Covid are unable to return to work, children can not be expected to have to return to school until they feel well.
The problem we have is that Long Covid recovery is not linear, we don't know when our children will feel well, so planning or committing to a regular school attendance plan is impossible.
How do you plan for a child who is unable to perform essential living tasks?
Parents want their children well and in school, but they are extremely concerned that forcing children to return to school too early could trigger a long-term chronic health condition.
We have tried to voice our concerns to schools but all we hear is;
"Schools have to follow the guidelines set by Public Health England and The Department of Education"
Sadly this gap in understanding has resulted in parents receiving harassment through daily communications, upsetting phone calls, and for some, threats of fines.
Long Covid Kids would like to work with the Education department and help develop a suitable policy for a phased return, and ongoing support.
Parents feel bullied, let's close the gaps and find a way forward.
Our children are still learning when well enough.
Some schools have gone the extra mile, some primary schools are much more understanding and often provide learning packs.
Amazing resources like The Invicta Academy have enabled our children to participate in live education. Without forward-thinking initiatives, our kids would have missed out on so much more.
The academy was set up by Stephen James and Anna Firth. They have done an amazing job, we highly recommend them.
Lessons are available for Key Stages 1-4 and currently, during Lockdown 3, are FREE.
The academy offers a foundation that assists families in accessing classes during school holidays when classes are charged to cover costs and support the ongoing work of the academy.
The next step is to find a way forward with the Department of Education and to do that we need awareness, please support and sign our campaign.
LongCovidKids.org is a parent and patient-led campaign & support group for parents of children with Long Covid. Our story started with a short film on long-lasting symptoms of Covid in children & we are working on The Long Covid Kids Study with PeopleWith
If your child experiences any symptom of unwell, it COULD be Covid , and your child should be tested. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.