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Summer describes what it’s like having kidney dialysis during coronavirus crisis

Screenshot of girl on dialysis

Summer K, aged 12, is a Year 8 pupil from Bridgend. Summer has chronic kidney disease and lost both her kidneys when she was very small so she has to attend University Hospital Cardiff 3 times a week for dialysis sessions. With every dialysis session lasting 4 hours plus travelling time, it means Summer misses 3 afternoons of educational experience so up until now, her teachers have kept work for her or added it to Firefly, our usual virtual learning platform. They also offer her catch up lessons as and when needed.

Following the coronavirus outbreak and the government’s decision to close schools, we moved every year group from Nursery to Sixth Form onto our remote and online learning programme. St Clare’s is part of the Cognita worldwide group of schools so our UK schools have been able to learn quickly from colleagues in Asia, where some countries have had mandatory school closures for many weeks and also more recently in Spain and Switzerland.

Summer says she loves the live interaction with her classmates on Microsoft Teams and the daily contact with teachers and the pastoral support offered. She said it’s so easy to ask questions because the teacher is on the screen right in front of her.

Summer’s mother, Joanne, said, “It has been so lovely for Summer to have something good to focus on especially with recent events.  She even looks forward to dialysis now! I truly believe it has helped Summer mentally as well as she has been feeling low. Mrs Smart always make Summer smile. They are such a fantastic team at St Clare’s. They should be very proud of themselves. I can imagine it has been a difficult time for them all also but the results they have given are amazing. It has gone in our favour as Summer gets to learn even more now as she has 5 full days of education. It’s so flexible and really convenient. It’s really quite sad to see the other patients just sitting there with no support from school. It makes us realise even more how lucky we are. It just makes me happy that Summer is happy and she is safe.”

Headteacher, Mrs Helen Hier said, “It’s been a huge undertaking to make the move to online learning – our teachers and pupils have been throwing themselves into the process with amazing energy. Summer’s experience shows the power of keeping our children connected. It’s so inspiring to all of us to know this new way of learning is making such a positive difference to our pupils.”

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