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School or college reopening Fall 2020 immunosupressed

my little penguin

Staff member
So is your school or college completely reopening ?
Doing partial online and part on classroom ?
Or all online ?

is it still changing day to day ?

Are you sending your crohns immunosupressed kiddo? Every day ?

anyone ask their Gi ?
My hubby works a local college.
They're still debating.🤷‍♀️
Sounds like they're going to do a combination of things. Still waiting finally verdict.
My eldest niece goes to a major university and she still waiting to hear what's happening.


Well-known member
O’s university is opening including having football season. Large lectures that can’t socially distance will be online but otherwise class as usual with masks required in all university buildings.

I fear for the town her school is in. It is a small town. She goes to a large state university. 30,0000 students from all over the country are going to descend on them and if they bring disease with them their healthcare system will not be able to handle it. But this town never shut down or required masks so I am guessing they are excited the kids are coming back. Football is religion there.

T’s high school is opening in 4 weeks. our school district is going to an A/B grouping. A goes to school Monday and Tuesday. B goes to school Thursday and Friday. Wednesday no one goes and schools get deep cleaned. When you are not in the building you are doing some sort of virtual lessons. There will be a span of 5 days between your last day in school and your next time you go so they are hoping if you are exposed in school symptoms will shake out before you come back.

Our county never even got through phase 2 of reopening Before we had to close down again. We just opened restaurants for outdoor dining on Monday and by Friday they were closed again. Stores just reopened for in store shopping at 50% capacity and are now back to curbside pick up only.

T’s softball team has their only tournament that hasn’t been cancelled coming up. In a state that is orange/red on covid map. They aren’t shutting things down. It is a 22 hour drive or two plane flight. We booked and Airbnb to cut down on public spaces (elevator, halls, lobby, restaurants).

We have to fly to O’s school to move her out of old apartment and into new. We have to stay in hotel for a few days.

We are going to tournament and sending both girls to school (it is both girls’ senior year) Our GI is still telling us they do not have increased risk of getting Covid or of complications. Still says the anti Tnfs are believed to be protective.

We wear masks everywhere and even though where we are going doesn’t require it we will continue to wear them. We also wash our hands frequently. We will fly with disinfecting wipes, n 95 masks and hand sanitizer.

I asked O to ask him if her low WBC’s means anything in terms of precautions but she hasn’t. I am guessing not but would like to hear what GI says.
E's university is tentatively opening with online classes for any class larger than 50 students. They don't start until the end of September, so fortunately they have a little time to watch what happens at schools that open in August. They are also giving everyone the option to stay at home and be completely online. My younger daughter will be a high school junior, and they are floating a plan similar to the one CIC described above.


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Haha talk about your fluid situations. We just got an email from the superintendent that school will start as 100% online and we will transition to the hybrid model as soon as it is deemed safe. I wish O's school would do the same.


Our school holiday end on Monday, with only years 11 & 12 going back in Greater Melbourne. Schools in most country Victoria went back. Prep to 10 have a extra week holiday and return to remote learning next week.

Restaurants are back to take away only. No visitors are allowed in our homes. Our number of active cases has double in the last fortnight.

All others states of Australia have closed their borders to Victoria. There are over 150 cases linked to a high school.
My son with Crohn's (150 mg of azathioprine, 3000 mg of sulfasalazine, iron) will be a freshman at the University of Ark. So far, school is on and in person. We haven't heard otherwise. Plan to send him and he will live in the dorm with a communal bathroom. Got accommodations to use the individual handicap bathroom, hoping that will cut down on germs. Sending him with lots of mask, hand sanitizer, clorox wipes, and prayers. Hate that he will be 5 hours away, but feel that he needs the social growth and independence that occurs during the college years.

my little penguin

Staff member
Ds just saw Gi
He is on Stelara and methotrexate
Gi wanted to “discuss “ what to do about school in September
I reminded doc Ds was already enrolled in an online private high School
So for him it was non issue
Not sure what Gi opinion would have been had it been in person school


Well-known member
A local district near me just announced all schools will be virtual for the entire fall. Pretty sure others will follow suit.


Staff member
My kiddo's university has announced that freshmen and sophomores will come to school in the fall. There will be much less socializing. They'll live in single rooms and the dining hall has been modified and i believe they are coming up with "grab and go" options for at least breakfast and lunch. Juniors and seniors with do classes remotely. Large lectures will either be online or will be split up into many small sections. In the spring, it will switch - juniors and seniors will be on campus.

My daughter will be a senior and does not want to do remote classes. But her doctors feel it is safer for her and so she will be doing online classes for the whole year, probably.

I should add that her health has not been very stable and that she is on two biologics and MTX, so her circumstances may be different from others'.


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O's college wants every student to get COVID tested prior to coming back. Cool. Totally agree. Thanks for being careful.


The college is doing the testing and because we live so far away they sent O an at home test. I thought, "hmm that's interesting, wonder how accurate it is because it clearly couldn't be the nasal swab test that feels like they are piercing your brain".

IT IS THE NASAL SWAB TEST! How on earth is she qualified to do that test on herself? She is watching the video on how to do the test now but I think I am going to call the school and tell them thanks but no thanks we will get er professionally tested.


Staff member
That is absolutely nuts!!! If all tests are like the one I had, no one can do that to themselves!

I can't believe the school expects accurate test results when expecting kids to self test! I think you should tell the school strongly that all tests should be professionally administered otherwise all students and staff are being put at risk! Wow!:mad:

my little penguin

Staff member
Provider-administered swab tests for coronavirus
Molecular tests typically involve inserting a 6-inch long swab into the back of the nasal passage through one nostril and rotating the swab several times for 15 seconds. This process is then repeated through the other nostril. The swab is then inserted into a container and sent to a lab for testing.

Alternative testing methods have recently been introduced, including rapid diagnostic tests that can be analyzed where the sample is collected at point-of-care (e.g., clinic or doctor’s office), and results are available in minutes. There are currently four authorized rapid point-of-care diagnostic tests, including ID NOW by Abbott, Xpert Xpress by Cepheid, Accula by Mesa Biotech, and Cue COVID-19 Test by Cue Health, Inc.

At-home tests for coronavirus
The FDA has authorized several at-home collection molecular tests, including Pixel by LabCorp and tests by Everlywell and LetsGetChecked, which are available online here. The test kits contain supplies to collect samples, including a nasal swab which you send back to the lab for testing. Unlike other swab-based tests, these tests use swabs that only need to go as far as the nostril, instead of deeper into the nasal passage. A study led by the UnitedHealth Group suggests that results from self-collected swab tests are similar in accuracy to provider-collected swab tests.

Several companies, including Hims and Vault Healthare now offering at-home collection tests online using a saliva test developed by Rutgers’ RUCDR Infinite Biologics. Test kits include a collection device to collect your saliva (instead of deep nose or throat swabs) and the sample is then mailed to the lab for processing.

As with all authorized at-home collection tests, you must qualify for testing based on certain criteria like your location, symptoms, potential exposure, and risk. Vault Health’s test, which is available here, also requires a video consultation with a practitioner to supervise sample collection.

The authorization of at-home collection tests is a big step forward as FDA works with test developers in this space. At-home collection tests can help expand testing, reduce the demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), and minimize frontline healthcare worker exposure. Currently, the FDA has not authorized any tests to be entirely used and processed at home.

You can read more about at-home testing here.

my little penguin

Staff member
Self-swabbing tests for COVID-19 accurate and safe, study reports
People can be taught to do their own nasal swabs for accurate COVID-19 testing, limiting the exposure of health care workers and the use of protective equipment, according to Stanford researchers.

JUN 122020

Yvonne Maldonado

Yvonne Maldonado is the senior author of a study that found people can be taught to do their own nasal swabs for accurate COVID-19 testing.
Steve Fisch

Test samples collected by people who swabbed their own nasal passages yielded results for the COVID-19 virus that were as accurate as samples collected by a health care worker, according to a small study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
The 30 study participants previously had tested positive for COVID-19.
The study was published June 12 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Allowing people who suspect they may have COVID-19 to collect their own sample has many advantages. Sample-collection kits could be widely distributed, allowing more people to be tested. Those using the kit wouldn’t have to travel to a testing site, negating the risk of transmission to health care workers and others with whom they interact in transit. Self-collection would also conserve supplies of personal protective equipment used by health care workers.
“There is an urgent need to increase our testing capacity to slow the overall spread of the virus,” said Yvonne Maldonado, MD, professor of pediatric infectious diseases and of health research and policy. “A sample collection procedure that can safely and easily be performed by the patient in their own car or at home could reduce the exposure of health care workers and also allow many more people to submit samples for testing.”
Maldonado is the senior author of the study, which was conducted in collaboration with Andra L. Blomkalns, MD, the Redlich Family Professor and professor and chair of emergency medicine, and Prasanthi Govindarajan, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine; senior research data analyst Jonathan Altamirano is the lead author.

Based on Stanford Study above
So that is why ....


Well-known member
Yep! Everlywell is the test she did. It doesn’t have to go up as far as the regular test. She was all done by the time I got home.
But seriously like any test makes a difference. Great! She could be negative today but in two weeks when school starts she could be positive. Or any day after that. The test just tells you here and now. So silly.
Schools are hopefully back here beginning of september. There have been a number of clusters recently so we are still in phase 3 here. We live in a very rural areas less than 100 kids in Lucy's school and the wider locality has remained a Covid free zone so I'm not concerned about school. Not sure what to do about face covering, I will speak to ibd nurse.
We are in a low transmission area. Our schools are cohorting with an option of fully online school. Masks required all day for grades 4-12. The kids (Crohns and non-Crohns) are heading back early September.
I figure we see how it goes and I can pull them out if need be. We did opt of of bussing this year.
My high schooler will be on a quad mester program. 2 classes per day for 9 weeks then switch to minimize contacts.
Still no word on extra curricular activities.
One of the BIG unanswered questions with us is...with 2 children having Crohn's and missing between 20-30 school days each per year (normal cold and flu, appointments, plus just "off" Crohn's days) we don't know if each time we call them in sick if they will have to have Covid-19 testing before returning to school. Or possibly a week of self-isolation. Or both.
I asked the school board and they don't know yet but promised to "support their learning".
We're still giving it a try but may opt out again for the October deadline if this causes increased testing. I get it if it's a respiratory thing or something unusual but otherwise don't love this idea.


Staff member
I've been following this thread just out of interest, I guess??, and I have to say I feel for all the parents whose kids are still in school! Such a big added worry on top of everything else we worry about. I just want to pass on hugs and my wishes that no complications from school come to any of the kids.

It's such a dilemma, I have two friends with elementary age kids and both the moms are worried about the isolation (on top of the educational impact) if they keep their kids home. Both have noticed their kids behaviours have changed and see the need for their kids to return to a more normal social environment but the covid worry remains.

FWIW, while not a silver bullet, with S, I do take some consolation in reports I've read that some of the meds our kids take seem to provide a bit of protection (taming down the 'cytokine storms'). But please don't anyone take this as meaning that our kids are 'safe' from covid but, it does help me as S returns to a more normal social life.

Again, just my wishes that a safe return to school is found and that all the kids stay well! ❤


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Just left O at school. Went out to dinner last night and passed quite a few bars that were packed with college kids partying with no masks! She has two room mates who have already been out to bars/parties. Argh!

School is at least requiring masks on campus both outside and in buildings. Hearing rumors that the school is only keeping kids here long enough to the full tuition refund date and then will move 100% online and send all forms kids home. O has a pretty sweet apartment complete with rooftop pool, big screen tv and such so doubt she would be running home. At this point it is just rumor and speculation. I will believe it when I see it.


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Well it happened! O's room mate was hanging out all night with a girl who just tested positive for Covid. So now her room mate is self quarantining and getting retested tomorrow. If she tests positive then the whole apartment must quarantine for two weeks.

It was only a matter of time and I am not surprised.
I caught COVID back in March back when it was impossible to see a Dr. Luckily my case wasn’t too bad. I forced myself to eat when I wasn’t hungry to try and avoid COVID triggering a flare up.


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Room mate tested negative.

Not that I trust the quick tests or that she tested at. the exact right time but what can you do. She probably is negative.

I do hope that this was a wake up call for the room mates and that they stop hanging out in bars and inviting people over to the apartment....but they are 21 so they probably aren't scared one bit.
E just cancelled her housing contract. OSU has moved almost all fall classes to be online, but as of now they are still planning to allow students to live in the dorms if they want to. With online classes and all the social distancing rules, E decided it just didn't sound very fun to be on campus, so she'll live at home for the fall. I'm glad she made that decision--dorm life just sounds like a cruise ship situation to me right now. School doesn't start until the end of September, so they may well still shut down the dorms before then, depending on what happens at schools that are already open.

She's also in a flare right now--she's lost some weight and calprotectin just came back at 725, so it may be just as well that she can study from home for a while. At her infusion yesterday, her doctor upped her infliximab dose to 10 mg/kg, along with getting infliximab levels, and E has an MRE next week.

She was also switched to Inflectra (Remicade biosimilar) yesterday; that's what Kaiser uses for all adult patients. I guess we won't really know if she reacts differently to that than to Remicade, since she's already flaring...


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Oh no PDX! Sorry to hear about the flare but VERY impressed that she made such a mature (and right in my opinion) decision to stay home.

Things are a mess at O's school. From one week to the next the cases went up 5 times. The police in town got involved and shut down two bars for underage drinking. They normally don't bat an eyelash at that stuff but because of Covid they used that excuse. O said only half the kids are in class as the other half are either Covid positive or have had contact with someone who is and are mandatory quarantining. We are starting to think it is just a matter of time before they send all the dorm kids home and move all classes online.
PDX, sorry to hear your daughter is in a flare but I do think it is good that she is staying at home. I hope the increase does the trick for her.
Crohnsinct - it sounds like mayhem and I hope your daughter comes home!
I'm so glad I don't have to think of my son and returniing to university! He just landed full-time employment with Environment Canada, and will mostly be training from home or the local office (instead of the initial training to be held in another province).


Staff member
My daughter's school recently switched from a hybrid plan (freshmen and sophomores on campus in the fall, and juniors and seniors in the spring) to doing all classes online, and all housing was canceled too, I believe, unless there were extenuating circumstances that made it impossible for students to go home. The quarantining requirements became too hard for the school to coordinate and I think after seeing that infections were already rising at colleges who had started and brought students back for in-person classes, they realized it was not feasible.

I agree with @pdx - I just can't imagine college students will be careful enough to prevent spread. A long time ago, the health director at one of my daughters' universities said that dorms are like petri dishes and since she was immunosuppressed, she should be extra careful to avoid infections, especially the flu. And that was years before the pandemic!!

My daughter is still very sad that her senior year will be all online classes, but she understands that she is high risk due to meds and other conditions she has. So online it is, likely for the whole year.


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@pdx Really sorry to hear E is flaring...I hope the dose increase will give her some relief. I'm glad she will be home to take classes - it's no fun flaring your first semester and with COVID to worry about on top of the flare, it makes so much sense for her to be at home.
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Staff member
The NY Times has a map of colleges experiencing COVID outbreaks:

The schools closest to us only have 30-50 cases. But there are many that have over 500 cases already and UNC Chapel Hill (which switched from in-person classes to online classes a week or two after the semester started) has over 800. Pretty scary 😬!
My freshman in college just tested positive for Covid. He drove home Friday evening from school. He has Crohn's and is on azathioprine and sulfasalazine. My son is painfully shy, hung out in his dorm almost the entire time except to eat (I know because I use Life 360 to track), and wore a mask very diligently. His dorm does have a shared communal bathroom and he has a roommate. The other scary part... the doc said that since he is only on day 3 of symptoms, more than likely the covid test will come back negative because there won't be enough virus to detect (normally positive on day 5). Well, nope, he already tested positive on day 3 of symptoms.

He was tested at a clinic (on a Saturday) and that doctor prescribed him Prednisone and Azithromycin. I hate that this happened over a holiday weekend. I am ready for Tuesday so I can talk to his regular doctor. Just so you know his symptoms:

Day 1: Massive headache; low grade fever 100.5 at night; couldn't sleep
Day 2: No headache; fever broke by 11:30 am; sore throat started that evening
Day 3: Just the sore throat; no other symptoms

I'll keep y'all posted on his progress just so you know our experience. You don't get to see too many stories of 18 yr old males, with Crohn's, on azathioprine, with Covid. Maybe this will help someone with an IBD kid in college.
I know there’s a lot of rubbish on the Internet but I have seen some more science sounding stuff about vitamin c and d and zinc being good for respiratory in general and possibly covid. I’ll try to find link. Sprays/ liquid probably easier for Crohn’s than tablets. Hope he feels better soon- youngsters seem to escape more lightly so fingers crossed for him. In slow time might be worth just checking in about the Azathioprine with doc - teenage boys slightly more vulnerable to side effects for some reason - but obviously could be a good reason why they chose that for him xx
Delta_Hippo, Thank you! He has been taking zinc for a while now and last night, I added C and D to his regiment. So far so good. I had him stop taking his aza right now since he was positive for Covid. Not sure it will do any good since it is in his system, but makes me feel better. I am very ready to talk to his regular GI doc.

Yes, when he first went on azathioprine, I did read the warnings for young men on it for Crohn's and did cry (ugly cried). He has been on it for 3 years and doing well. Still praying he doesn't ever have the bad side effect. You are so sweet to word your concerns so kindly. Prayers for Covid and side effects of aza are always welcomed.
Oh my gosh--so sorry to hear this, sgholmes. I will be thinking of him and you and hoping that he has a very mild case with a quick recovery. (And of course it all had to happen on a holiday weekend--ugh!)

my little penguin

Staff member
Definitely check with your Gi
Most have on call services even on the weekend
They may not want him to stop aza
It depends on the latest findings
Ds specialists have stated if he gets Covid or flu we are to call even if it’s after hours
That’s what on call is for

we are not to stop any meds unless the Gi tells us simple because sometimes they want us to wait for 24 hours past a fever
Other times it’s ok
And and and
It’s better to get their advice on your kiddo

good luck
Hope he improves
WOW! I called the on-call doctor today to check about meds. Told her what he was currently on (aza and sulfa) and what was prescribed to help fight covid (pred & z pack). She said continue taking azathioprine and sulfasalazine. However, she said to stop the meds that they prescribed for Covid (prednisone & z pack). She said that it was not the protocol and based on his symptoms seems very unnecessary. So being incredibly confused on what to do, I called his general practitioner's office. The GP doc on call agreed with the GI doc on call to not take the prednisone and z pack. I am not sure why the testing clinic doc prescribed pred & z pack when two other docs said no, don't take them. Oh man! So confusing.

my little penguin

Staff member
Glad you called
Yes when these kiddos get infections it’s better to call the specialists since they have experience
Regular clinic docs don’t see a lot of crohns patients
Or even patients on aza /biologics /mtx
So it’s a different ball of wax

Steriods when given to a crohns patient for any reason have to be tapered or a crohns flare can occur
Just lots of little things
Glad your Gi was able to help
I am sorry to hear about you son and wish him all the best. My reading of the NIH guidelines for COVID treatment (updated 8/27/20) is that doctors should only use steroids for COVID-19 in people who need supplemental oxygen or are on ventilators.