ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - It’s the time of year when most kids are strapping on their backpacks and returning to the classroom. But for children in the hospital going through treatment for severe illnesses, school is often put on the back burner.
"Never met a patient here at the hospital that says "I'm so glad I don't get to go to school today!" Alicia Riggs told FOX 13 News about the children at John's Hopkins All Children's Hospital.
One 7-year-old patient, Sammy, has been getting treatments at John's Hopkins for some time now. But while his brothers and sisters returned to school after summer vacation, Sammy did not.
Riggs explained, "He has to come to all these doctors appointments and admissions into the hospital and he's gotta be here three days a week or more than three days a week. For us, it was creating that normal school experience at the hospital within his treatment setting."
While children in these settings can take virtual classes, they had no access to a certified teacher. That is until Riggs stepped in.
Riggs lobbied the state legislature and Governor Scott, which passed in the form of a grant. Now Sammy and other children in treatment have a teacher to go along with the lessons.
“If that child is mastering it in the moment, then they can move on. If they need a bit more reinforcement, then they can go back a little," Riggs explains, "They can go at a certain time, but if that child is in treatment or not feeling well that morning, they can come back."
Thanks to Riggs' advocacy, children who would not otherwise have access to quality education because of their illnesses now have one less battle to fight.
You can find more from Riggs in the Extraordinary Ordinary Extra on the facebook page: FOX 13's Walter Allen