The COVID-19 pandemic has raised additional challenges regarding upcoming school entry for vulnerable children, including solid organ transplantation (SOT) recipients.  In response to mounting questions from families and SOT providers, a group of PIDS pediatric transplant ID physicians in collaboration with specialists with expertise in infection prevention, public health, and transplant psychology, convened to construct an expert opinion consensus statement regarding key considerations that providers and families can use as a framework when considering individual risk and shared decision-making about returning to school (K-12) this fall.

The statement summarizes available evidence, best practices, and consensus recommendations around key questions including:

  • Review of host-related factors allowing for individual risk stratification for children who may be at higher potential risk
  • Review of community and public health considerations that may impact the decision of returning to school in person
  • School-related considerations including preparedness and optimal infection prevention measures to mitigate risk
  • Review of the available published literature re: COVID-19 in pediatric SOT and school experience during the pandemic thus far

The full document has been submitted to JPIDS as a manuscript for consideration and has been supported by the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS), Society of Pediatric Liver Transplantation (SPLIT), the Starzl Network for Excellence in Pediatric Transplantation, the Pediatric Heart Transplant Society (PHTS), the Advanced Cardiac Therapies Improving Outcomes Network (ACTION), Improving Renal Outcomes Collaborative (IROC), American Society of Transplantation (AST), and the organization of Transplant Families.  A summary FAQ document will also be made available for patients and families.

FAQs Regarding Return to School for Children after Solid Organ Transplant in the United States During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has created many questions about returning to school for pediatric solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients and their families. While the risk of getting COVID-19 in school will never be zero when COVID-19 cases are present in a community, a team of pediatric transplant infectious diseases experts have provided information to help families make decisions with their transplant teams about school attendance for their child who has received a SOT (liver, lung, kidney, heart, or pancreas). These recommendations are focused on K-12th grade. When reviewing this document, it should be remembered that:

  1. Currently there are many unknowns about COVID-19, so this document will be revised as we learn more.
  2. No single answer is going to be appropriate for every child after SOT.
  3. State and local officials will ultimately make decisions about when or whether schools will reopen this fall.
  4. These recommendations are not meant to replace advice from your transplant team. While we hope that this document will be helpful, we would recommend discussing individual details regarding your school plans with your child’s transplant provider.

Download the return to school for SOT FAQ sheet for families

Back to School Safety Tips


Download the Back to School Safety Tips for SOT Recipients (pdf)