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Return-to-School Recommendations Issued for Organ Transplant Recipients

FRIDAY, Aug. 14, 2020 -- For solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients, the decision of whether to return to school should be a shared decision between families, transplant professionals, and educators, according to an expert opinion article published online Aug. 4 in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society.

Kevin J. Downes, M.D., from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues addressed the primary concerns about school reentry for pediatric SOT recipients in the United States. Consensus statements were generated based on available literature and guidance from national organizations.

The authors note that there is no evidence for pediatric SOT recipients being higher risk for more severe COVID-19; however, when it comes to school reentry decisions, pediatric SOT recipients should be managed as a higher-risk population compared with other children. The current evidence is inadequate for distinguishing which risk factors are specific for severe COVID-19 in pediatric SOT recipients; however, specific risk factors drawn from experience with other respiratory viral infections and in other populations may be used to guide decision-making. For any child who has had an SOT, the decision to return to school is a matter of shared decision-making between families, transplant professionals, and educators; the decision should be based on factors such as clinical risk assessment, level of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in the community, and willingness of the school and the child to adhere to precautions for preventing transmission.

"For the majority of pediatric SOT recipients, the benefits of attending school will probably outweigh the risks," Downes said in a statement.

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Posted: August 2020

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