If you live with someone with cancer who was shielding from coronavirus, there are things you can do to support them and to carefully follow guidance on staying alert, staying safe, and social distancing.
You don’t need to social distance from the person shielding anymore, as long as they are well.
Just like for the rest of the population, everyone in the household should always follow the government guidelines.
My child has cancer – should I send them to school during coronavirus?
If your child has cancer, and is in the clinically extremely vulnerable groups, you’ve probably been following guidance to shield them.
Shielding has now paused across all of the UK, and so children and young people are being advised to return to school, unless your GP or healthcare team advise otherwise.
It’s totally understandable if you feel nervous about your child going back to school. If you’re worried, talk to the school to find the safest way for them to be taught. Your GP and clinical team might also be able to suggest ways to help.
You can also read more about clinically vulnerable children going back to school from the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH).
As someone with cancer, you child is also protected by the Equality Act (England, Scotland and Wales) or the Disability Discrimination Act (Northern Ireland). That means that their school has to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to make sure they’re able to continue their education and do things like take exams in a way that works for them.
Find out more about the Equality Act from the government and reasonable adjustments from the Human Rights Commission.
Macmillan Cancer Support also have helpful info on reasonable adjustments.
And you can read our info about going back to school or university when you have cancer.
How can I help someone with cancer after they’ve been shielding from coronavirus?
If you know a young person with cancer, you might have been supporting them while they shielded from coronavirus.
Now that most people won’t need to keep shielding, you might want to encourage them to start doing more outside their home.
Remember that they might feel nervous about going out and seeing people. They’ve been shielding because they’re more at risk, so it’s understandable that they might still be worried.
Try talking to the person about what they need from you. It might be they want more info about what they should be doing to keep themselves safe. They might want to get out there straight away or they might want to take it slowly to begin with.
You could also think of some low-risk activities going for walks, or just seeing one or two people separately.
You’ll be helping just by listening to what they need, and they’ll really value your support as they get used to life after shielding.
How can I keep my friend with cancer safe from coronavirus?
If you’re spending time with a young person with cancer for the first time since they’ve been shielding, you’re probably really excited to see them! But you might also be nervous about keeping them safe.
The main thing to do is make sure you follow all the current guidance on things like socially distancing, washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds or more, wearing a mask in enclosed spaces, and staying away if you have any coronavirus symptoms.
And on top of that, it’s really helpful to ask the young person what you can do to make them feel more comfortable. That might be things like using hand sanitizer, only meeting outdoors, or staying further away from each other than 2 meters.
Everyone will feel differently, so it’s always best to talk to the young person and see what you can do to help them feel at ease.