When can my child go back to school?

Every child’s recovery from a concussion is unique and so the decision about when your child can return to school should be made between:

  • You
  • Your child
  • Your child’s school
  • Your child’s physician
  • Any other health professionals involved in your child’s care

The Return to School protocol provides a stepwise process for gradually guiding your child back to school.

Following the initial period of rest (Stage 1) to allow the brain to rest, and your child has remained symptom-free for 24 hours, your child can start doing light cognitive activities at home (Stage 2). This could begin with short periods (5 to 15 min) of activity such as reading, drawing, puzzles, building blocks, watching TV and limited computer time, as long as the activity does not worsen symptoms. Slowly increase the time doing cognitive activity to 30 minutes. This can be done several times a day with a break between each session as tolerated by your child. As in the rest period, the student should not attend school, participate in sports, drive or go to work .

When your child reaches stage 2, you should contact the school to discuss your child’s Return to Learn Plan. Usually school work will begin at home where the environment can be better controlled. Once your child tolerates 60 minutes of school work, in two 30 minute sessions with a break between without worsening symptoms, they may be ready to return to school part time.

Once back at school, your child’s Return to Learn Plan should be followed to guide them through the protocol until they are back to school full time. This is a fluctuating process where your child may do well one day and not the next. It could take 2 to 4 weeks until your child is back to school full time.

If your child does not progress past stage 3 after 4 to 6 weeks, you should seek further medical advice.

The Return to Learn Protocol can be found in the Resources section of this website.

The Return to Learn Planning Tool, Concussion Awareness Course for School Professionals and other Resources on this website can help guide the school to support your child’s return to learn.

Every child’s recovery from a concussion is unique