School brings a sense of normalcy to the lives of our students and their families. Going to school takes a student’s mind off the medical issues at hand. It provides a distraction from procedures which may be frightening and sometimes painful. For students who are feeling well enough, going to school provides an opportunity for a child to leave the confines of the hospital room. Sometimes parents attend school with their child, but school time may also provide an opportunity for parents to take a break.

    Attending school in the hospital gives students a sense of control. Even when medical issues seem overwhelming, maintaining schedules and succeeding in school are possible. For our students who are seriously ill, school provides evidence that there is life and hope after hardship. Many of our students have commented that they knew we planned for them to get well because we were asking them to continue with school. In the hospital, school provides a sense of future.

    Here are some frequently asked questions:

    How does it work?

    Parents or medical staff may contact the hospital school and request services. Children in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade who are hospital patients (including outpatient) may attend. Instruction can take place in the hospital classroom, bedside, or other locations within the hospital.

    Are the teachers real teachers?

    Absolutely! The teachers hold valid certification through the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

    Will I have to stay all day? 

    No. Usually you will have school for one hour a day. You’ll be working one-on-one with a teacher so you can finish lots of work. If you aren’t feeling well, school may split into two half-hour sessions.

    How will you know my assignments?

    The hospital teacher will contact someone at your school and gather assignments for you. If you don’t live far away, your mom or dad might stop by and pick them up. If this is a pre-planned admission, consider bringing the assignments with you. We’ll try to work on the same assignments that your class is completing. We’ll send all of your work to your teacher, and it will be recorded. Doing your best is very important.

    Will I still be a student at my home school?

    Yes! The people at your home school know you’ll be returning as soon as you feel better. You’ll continue to be enrolled in your home school while you are a student at the Hospital School.

    Will I be counted absent?

    No. You are counted present while you are with us. Upon your discharge, our teachers will submit documentation to your school of the dates you were here and the services provided to you.

    Do I have to be a student in Durham County to go to the hospital school?

    No. Many of our students are from Durham, but we welcome students from all over NC, as well as outside the state and outside the country!

    Will I have homework in the hospital?

    We usually assign homework so that you don’t get behind. If your time is taken up with medical procedures or if you don’t feel well, we can be flexible with homework completion.

    The Hospital School is supported jointly by Durham Public Schools and Duke Medical Center. For more information, call Sylvia Fuller at the Hospital School, 919.684.5684.