“There were no other options,” she said. “We don't have a lot of family support. I am the main income provider and I have our health insurance. So we really didn't have a choice.”

Her daughter’s kindergarten didn’t respond to requests for comment.

No Consensus
Perry, Kitzinger and Tabor are members of a Facebook group for transplant recipients, and what to do about schools is a regular topic. There’s no consensus, so participants share the plans they’ve cobbled together to help the others with ideas on how to protect their health without compromising education.

Nationally, about 61% of kindergarten through high school students will attend school virtually, according to a survey of public-school districts by Burbio, a New York-based data service. About 20% will have in-person classes and more than 18% are hybrid, Burbio found. One percent are undecided. About 75% of the top 700 U.S. universities plan to allow students on campus, even those staying online.

The CDC recommends schools prioritize bringing students back, but any decision needs to be based on local guidance. Mass testing isn’t recommended, while symptom screenings, masks and temperature checks are. President Donald Trump has pushed for all levels of schools to bring students back, saying “virtual is not as good as being there.”

But even low case numbers in the community don’t shield schools enough, according to Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. There isn’t enough testing and contact tracing in place to safely reopen for anyone, he said.

And “if you're immunocompromised, even if you're healthy, it's a risk,” he said.

No Easy Decisions
In Muskogee, Oklahoma, Madison Shoemaker, 22, and her mother care for her 7-year-old niece, who was diagnosed in early March with primary immunodeficiency disorder and must avoid public spaces. “She can't even fight off a cold right now, so fighting off Covid is not an option,” Shoemaker said.

The district has a fully online option, but keeping the first-grader home means Shoemaker, who plans to finish college in December and has two jobs, has to cut back on work. “That's going to be a huge financial impact on us,” she said.

The district encourages masks for those in second grade and below and requires them above that age and said its E-Learning Academy will be available beyond this year. The “superintendent feels that providing an online option is part of the future of education,” according to an emailed statement.

Shoemaker is also concerned about her niece's mental health as she’s “super isolated.” Still, normalcy isn't an option now.