As the new school year is beginning across the country and shifting back to more in-person learning, LLS has been hearing from families affected by blood cancer. Whether your child or someone else in the household has blood cancer, LLS understands how challenging it is to make decisions about how to keep your family safe from COVID-19. This is especially challenging for parents of children younger than 12 who are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.
As always, LLS recommends speaking with your or your child’s health care team. They can evaluate your specific situation and provide guidance tailored to your needs. However, LLS does suggest following some general guidelines:
- Get every eligible person in your household vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible. This means getting all vaccine doses as recommended by the CDC.
- Have your child wear a mask during in-person, indoor learning.
- Ask if your school will be following CDC recommendations for universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to all K-12 schools regardless of vaccination status, and what other safety precautions they have in place.
- Remind your child often about good hygiene practices such as handwashing and respiratory etiquette.
- Ask your school about its screening and testing policy and how they will keep you informed of possible or confirmed COVID-19 cases in your child’s school. This can help you plan and make quick decisions about when you might want to keep your child home for a few days or have them tested after a possible exposure to COVID-19.
- Keep your child home if they have any sign of an infectious illness and talk with their health care provider about the need for testing and care. If the child is a blood cancer patient, they should contact their HCP if they have any indication that they have been exposed immediately.
- If possible, avoid direct/close contact with the blood cancer patient until they are well.