COVID-19, Kids With Cancer and School?

Photo by Deleece Cook on Unsplash

Having a child with cancer is tough enough, but during a pandemic it’s even tougher. And as the pandemic lingers, the question is – should kids with cancer attend school in-person during COVID-19?

When Is It Safe To Go Back To School?

Thinking about kids with cancer going to school in-person in the age of COVID-19 has many families and educators uneasy. Deciding when to send a child back to school during or after treatment is tough enough but the stakes are even higher during a pandemic.  So, the question is when is it safe to send them? Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer.  Every child’s situation is different. Every school district has a different set of circumstances. And to make matters more complicated, community and school risks vary almost daily. Overnight, a classroom, entire grade or even a whole school might have to quarantine if someone tests positive for COVID-19.

In-person or Virtual Learning – What’s Right for Your Child?

Whether a school district is offering in-person learning, on-line instruction or a combination of both, each option has risks and advantages. When deciding what option is best for your child, there are many factors to think about. It’s important to look at the full spectrum of risks involved in both in-person and virtual learning options. Take into consideration the current community transmission rates. If the transmission rate in the community is high, then the transmission rate in the school is high as well. Speak with your child’s school. Find out what precautions they are taking such as frequent cleaning of high-use areas and regular temperature checks of students, teachers and staff. It’s also important to reach out to your child’s care team for advice.

Helpful Resources

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a school decision-making tool kit that you may find helpful. It has information and questionnaires that can help you weigh the benefits and risks of each option. You can also find more suggestions at the CDC “Checklist: Planning for In-Person Classes”.

You can find other great tips and ideas by visiting Children’s Oncology Group.

The American Cancer Society has information on keeping up with school work during treatment.

Visit our blog post to learn more about children with cancer during COVID-19.


If your child is attending school in-person, the CDC recommends checking them each morning for signs of illness or fever. They suggest reviewing and practicing proper hand hygiene at home and talking with your child about precautions to take at school.  They also suggest planning for possible school closures. And they suggest developing a plan as a family to protect household members who are at increased risk for severe illness.