Supporting Students in the Hospital
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It’s no secret that many students will miss a few days of school at some point during the year for minor illness or injury. But what happens to those students who experience prolonged absences from school due to debilitating illnesses or injuries? A student may be absent from classes because they’re homeschooled, but these types of absences can also happen when a child is hospitalized and unable to attend class on a regular basis. As teachers, we might feel overwhelmed trying to meet the needs of our hospitalized students; however, if we see them as just like any other child in our classroom then there are ways that we can help them return back into their normal routine.
CREATE A PLAN
Establishing a point of contact for the student is an important first step. Some hospitals employ educational liaisons to coordinate a students’ plan, ensure that they have all of their medical paperwork signed and delivered in time so there are no surprises coming from outside sources like parents or schools when it comes time to make decisions about academic progress while he/she recovers at home with family support; if there isn’t already someone designated by your local healthcare facility then talk with social worker about how these arrangements can best work out between you both
INVOLVE THE FAMILY
Parents are the most important teachers in their child’s life, so it’s crucial to keep them informed about what you can do during this time. You might want to create an open dialogue with parents regarding the best way for them and their student to stay connected throughout his/her illness; they’ll be able to keep you informed about how the student is doing at home, which will allow you to better accommodate their needs. If there are parents who cannot stay involved in their child’s education because of distance or legal issues like incarceration, then make sure that they know someone else can be a reliable resource for them during this time
REACH OUT TO YOUR STUDENT
Texting, e-mail and phone calls can be a great way to establish contact between your student and yourself. The more you know about how they’re doing at home will help you better plan lessons that are appropriate for their level of understanding; if there’s anything specific that the hospital is providing like books or resources then don’t hesitate to ask if they can send you a copy for your student.
MAKE A VISIT
Most hospitals have visiting hours that will allow students to see their friends and classmates from school, but don’t be afraid to ask if there’s any flexibility in scheduling or what types of visits are permitted. You might even want to provide the hospital with some pictures of your student and their classmates to help them feel more at home.
SPEAK UP AT SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS
When students require extended hospitalization, it’s important for teachers like you to make sure that the school board is aware of his/her situation as the need arises; these meetings can be a great way to keep everyone on the same page regarding how to provide your student with the best education possible while they’re away from school.
CREATE A CLASSROOM PACKET
Keeping all of their work organized can be a challenge, so create a packet that will have everything you need in it; this way, even if someone else is filling in for them at home there won’t be any missed work that will have to be made up after they return.
CONTINUE TO MONITOR PROGRESS
Even if your student is only in the hospital for a few weeks, you’ll want to keep track of their progress and adjust lessons as needed so that there aren’t too many surprises when he/she returns back to school; this way, you can ease them back into their normal routine before they get too far behind.
INVOLVE THE CLASS IN THEIR ABSENCE
Letting your other students know that someone in the class has been absent because of an illness and will need extra support when he/she returns is a great way to help everyone stay connected; you might want to schedule a brief discussion about the student’s illness and how it affects his/her ability to go to school, which can help your other students better understand why he/she has been absent. Students should also take help with homework helpers to complete their homework with good grades.
PREPARE FOR THE STUDENT’S RETURN
Make sure to schedule a multidisciplinary reentry meeting prior to the expected return date. This is where you will review all of your medical paperwork, including prescriptions and restrictions that have been put in place for both school settings as well as home life after returning back from illness or injury. Be sure not only invite but also ask about any recommendations they may offer on how best help out students before their next lesson begins!
In order to make sure that the student can navigate his schedule of classes with limited mobility, invite him for a trial run during off-hours. Consider starting by taking half days before transitioning fully into full schedules from there on out!