Returning to School and Daily Living
As states begin to reopen, parents and guardians of children with IBD may be wondering how to address school, camp and other daily activities. Each community will take a different approach to reopening schools and camps. Overall, at this time it's recommended that IBD patients stay cautious and practice healthy habits to stay safe. Talk to your child's doctor to discuss the potential risks of your child to returning to regular routines.
It’s important for children with IBD to maintain their health appointments and continue to receive their scheduled medications and non-live vaccinations. Some pediatric patients with IBD may be on immune suppressing medications and should follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for high risk individuals.
Each state is handling reopening in different ways and on different timelines. It’s important to follow local guidance as each state and county determines reopening phases based on local risk. Check your state's health department website for more information. The National Association of Camp and City Health Officials has also created a map directory to help you search for your local health departments near you. Find the map tool here.
Summer camp guidance
Camps and summer activities may look different this summer due to COVID-19. Call ahead to see what precautions your child’s camp is taking to keep children safe. Some sleepaway camps that are still open may start conducting temperature checks and other tests prior to allowing your child to attend. Talk to your children about their hygiene habits while away, including hand washing, showers, and ways to properly separate clean and dirty clothing. Utilize camp packing lists and make sure to include extra clothes, cleaning supplies, medications, and sealed snacks.
For day camps, groups may be smaller, and your child may have to be more flexible day to day. As camps become more cautious, and depending on staff and camper absences, your child may not have the same counselors and group mates each day. For kids with IBD, this means making sure they have what they need and know who to go to in case they don’t feel well. Make sure your child knows what to say and how to get help when they need it.
After careful review of national trends and important guidelines concerning COVID-19, the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation has made the difficult decision that we cannot host residential camp sessions this year. However, we are excited to launch a virtual Camp Oasis program for our campers this summer! Registration is now open to all age eligible kids and teens with IBD. Register for our Camp Oasis virtual program today!
Going back to school
Returning to school might be different than how your child remembers it. Talk to them about any anticipated changes so they can feel more prepared. For kids with IBD, it’s important to talk to teachers and other school administrators about how these changes might affect their daily schedule. Talk to your kids about regular hand washing, social distancing, and if required, wearing a mask. For more information and guidance, please see the CDC's recommendations regarding face coverings.
Help children with IBD feel comfortable with asking for things they need. As institutions become more cautious, schools may be encouraging more absences for staff when they don’t feel well. It may be helpful to have your children carry around a note with specific information about their IBD needs in the event they are working with different teachers and staff at school. Talk to your child’s teachers about accommodations that your child might need such as access to snacks, water, and bathrooms.
For more guidance about navigating school life with IBD see:
Babysitting and daycare
As some workplaces reopen, you may have to reconsider your family's approach to childcare. Check with your child’s day care to see how they are adjusting to new guidelines. You may feel more comfortable working with a babysitter or nanny instead. There are different things to consider when deciding what works best for you and your family. Talk to your child’s doctor about what they think is best for your child's wellbeing.
Returning to college
College might look different this coming semester due to COVID-19. Some campuses will start to open their doors, and others may continue remote learning into the fall. For students with IBD, navigating your start or return to college may involve some extra steps. Talk to your doctor about returning to school—if they suggest staying home longer, ask your professors if you can continue distance learning.
Follow your school's guidance for how they're handling reopening; every school may look a little different. Your college/university may alter schedules or require masks and gloves in certain settings. Find more information about face masks and coverings. If you need certain accommodations, contact your school's disability office to arrange them before returning. You may want to consider the following:
- Access to a car
- Access to private bathroom
- Ability to live off campus
Our college website, Campus Connection, provides tips and resources for students with IBD, as well as an opportunity to connect with others from campuses around the country. Click here to visit Campus Connection.