A woman whose daughter is experiencing long Covid is leading calls for more support to be given to students suffering with the effects of the illness when returning to school.

Later today Julie Edge, Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, will be asked by Daphne Caine what support is provided to students returning to school after a viral infection?

Cat Haxby is the Isle of Man representative for Long Covid Kids, a UK charity and has recently established a private Facebook group for parents of children with Long Covid, with almost 100 members already.

Cat Haxby

Cat said: ‘Teachers and other members of staff throughout schools, need to recognise the symptoms of Long Covid, to improve case finding in the community, signposting and early intervention to help children and young people get the support they need.’

The Long Covid Kids website states ‘Covid infection can affect children and young people differently’. Cat’s daughter Gabi, aged 8, contracted Covid-19 in March 2021 and has been displaying symptoms of Long Covid since then. Gabi’s main ongoing symptom is undiagnosed ‘chest pain, which can come on suddenly while at rest, during or after activity’. She said: ‘I have had a few meetings with the Head Teacher, and her class teacher to explain her symptoms and how the school could support and understand what Gabi goes through on a daily basis.’

She is part of a growing community of local parents want their children to be able to ‘enjoy their school experience like every other child’.

Tips for Teachers

Sammie McFarland, CEO & Founder, is offering ‘to provide Isle of Man schools with educational training
resources for pupils, teachers and support staff to better understand the key messages that can support young people recovering from Covid-19′.

Sammie McFarland

She added: ‘The Isle of Man has a unique opportunity, due to its size and political autonomy, to reach a standard of support for pupils that we strive to accomplish in the UK. You have a real opportunity to demonstrate how early intervention and appropriate management can improve paediatric
experience and outcome.’

Sammie explained two key messages for parents and teachers who are responsible for a child recovering from Covid 19. Firstly, children need ‘reassurance that it is okay to prioritise their recovery’ and ‘one thing we do know is that ‘pushing through’ can be harmful and result in worsening of symptoms and the inability to attend any education’.

The following list was provided and highlights warning signs that a child is not ready to return to school:
* Reports that they are spending all the time they are not at school sleeping/resting.
* Unusually heightened emotions at school or home – easily irritable, angry or quick to cry.
* Looking exhausted – yawning, sleepy eyes.
* Frequently reports feeling unwell or troublesome symptoms – dizziness, headaches, nausea.
* Unable to concentrate.
* Complains of non-specific pain.

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