Stop discrimination and preventing children with tracheostomies returning to school

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Many children across the UK who have tracheostomies are being told they cannot return to school. This is due to the fact that suctioning a tracheostomy is an Aerosol Generating Procedure and the guidance from Public Health England - which schools are duty bound to follow - states this procedure needs to be done in a separate room which cannot then be used for any other purpose. Many schools do not have a separate room to use and therefore are saying they cannot accommodate the child in school.

Parents feel that children with a tracheostomy pose no more risk than any other child coughing or sneezing and the guidelines are inappropriate unless the child is suspected of having COVID (in which case they wouldn’t be at school anyway). 

The guidance has apparently been taken from hospital procedures and is not appropriate or realistic in a school setting. It offers no suggestions to alternatives of a separate room is not available. We need these guidelines to be updated to be realistic for school settings. We need schools to be reassured that trachy children do not pose a risk to others. These children have been shielding and have been totally isolated for months. Please help prevent this discrimination and get these children into schools, where they need to be. 

Thank you 

(Note - a tracheostomy is an artificial airway - a tube inserted in the neck to enable a child to breathe.