School in the hospital? Yes!

School brings a sense of normalcy to the lives of our students and their families. Going to school takes a student’s mind off the medical issues at hand. It provides a distraction from procedures which may be frightening and sometimes painful. For students who are feeling well enough, going to school provides an opportunity for a child to leave the confines of the hospital room. Sometimes parents attend school with their child, but school time may also provide an opportunity for parents to take a break.

Attending school in the hospital gives students a sense of control. Even when medical issues seem overwhelming, maintaining schedules and succeeding in school are possible. For our students who are seriously ill, school provides evidence that there is life and hope after hardship. Many of our students have commented that they knew we planned for them to get well because we were asking them to continue with school. In the hospital, school provides a sense of future.

Here are some frequently asked questions:

How does it work? 

The process begins when your doctor makes a referral for school services. If you are enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade and are projected to be in the hospital for five school days or more, you may attend. If you are enrolled in an exceptional children’s program and have an IEP, you may have school if the stay is anticipated for at least three school days.  Next, a hospital teacher will visit your mom, dad or legal guardian to get permission for you to attend school. Instruction can take place in the hospital classroom or in your room.

Are the teachers real teachers?

Absolutely! The teachers hold valid certification through the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

Will I have to stay all day? 

No. Usually you will have school for one hour a day. You’ll be working one-on-one with a teacher so you can finish lots of work. If you aren’t feeling well, school may split into two half-hour sessions.

How will you know my assignments? 

The hospital teacher will call your school and speak with the counselor. The counselor will talk with your teachers, and they will gather assignments for you. If you don’t live far away, your mom or dad might stop by the school and pick them up. We’ll try to work on the same assignments that your class is completing. We’ll send all of your work to your teacher, and it will be recorded. Doing your best is very important.

Will I still be a student at my home school?

Yes! The people at your home school know you’ll be returning as soon as you feel better. You’ll be withdrawn from your home school’s roll while you are here, and we’ll enter you on our roll, but it is only a temporary situation. 

Will I be counted absent?

No. You are counted present while you are on our roll. We’ll let your home school know the day you were admitted to the hospital, the day you were enrolled in the hospital school, and the day you are discharged from the hospital. Each school day you are in the hospital counts as a full day of school.

Do I have to be a student in Pitt County to go to the hospital school?

No. Many of our students are from Pitt County, but we welcome students from all over North Carolina. Sometimes we even have students from other states.

Will I have homework in the hospital?

We usually assign homework so that you don’t get behind. If your time is taken up with medical procedures or if you don’t feel well, we can be flexible with homework completion.

The Hospital School is supported jointly by Pitt County Schools and Vidant Medical Center. For more information, call Virginia Gaynor, director of the Exceptional Children's Program at Pitt County Schools, at 252-695-7989. You may also inquire about the service by calling Paige Riggs, Vidant Medical Center Rehab Program Manager, at 252-847-0441.

 

More information on Children's Programs & Support