We Got COVID-19 After Sending Our Kids Back to School

Meagan Cheney avatar

by Meagan Cheney |

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I took all three of my children out of school on March 13, 2020, the day before our local school district decided to switch to remote learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was because our youngest daughter, Austen, 6, has Dravet syndrome.

In the past, something as seemingly minor as an adenovirus has sent Austen to the pediatric intensive care unit, so my former husband and I didn’t want to take our chances with a virus that had doctors around the world scrambling to figure out how to treat it.

Since then, the kids have mostly been home-schooled, although our oldest daughter, Addisen, 13, went back to school in November. We anxiously watched for signs that it was safe to allow all of our kids to go back to school. We waited for the number of COVID-19 cases to go down and for vaccines to be approved, worrying every step of the way about whether we were making the right choices.

Now that we are getting a divorce, the kids and I moved back to Texas over the Christmas holidays. Their dad will follow soon, once the house in Colorado is sold. We discussed the situation further and decided that it was the right time to send the kids back into a regular classroom. All three are fully vaccinated, and I’m vaccinated as well, plus I’ve had my booster shot.

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They started school over a week ago, and Austen was so excited. She loves her teacher and her new friends. The school has done an amazing job to make us feel comfortable leaving her in their care.

After her second day back, she returned home excited to tell me that, “Today I learned not to talk while the teacher is talking.” She was so serious at that moment that I had to walk away and giggle. We went into our weekend happy and excited for the next week of school.

Then Saturday happened.

I woke up with a headache and a scratchy feeling in the back of my throat — that feeling you get just before you get sick or when your sinuses are draining. By the evening, I had developed a fever and a cough. On Sunday, the kids had coughs, too. We were tested on Monday, and sure enough, three out of four of us have COVID-19. Austen’s test was negative, although I suspect they weren’t able to get a good swab from her.

So, here we are. After going back and forth so many times about putting the kids back in school, COVID-19 hit our home as soon as we decided it was safe. I would laugh if I wasn’t so tempted to cry.

The good news is that we are all OK. So far, the vaccines appear to be doing their job, and it has felt like a bad cold. Although Austen has had a cough and a slight fever, she hasn’t had any seizures. She hasn’t even lost an ounce of energy, which makes it a bit harder for this tired mama. But I’m smiling through my yawns, and praising God for carrying us through this.

In a little over a week, the kids will go back to school again, and hopefully, we can go a few weeks before they carry any more germs home to share with family.

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Note: Dravet Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Dravet Syndrome News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Dravet syndrome.

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