GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – All North Carolina schools must implement a new Return-to-Learn policy this year, outlining how to treat students with concussions while in school.
North Carolina has had a concussion policy in place for athletes for years, but Return-to-Learn applies to all students in all grades. That means concussion policies now extend to elementary schoolers for the first time.
School systems are working to develop these plans now. It will go over communicating with families about head injuries that happen outside of school, training staff on how to recognize concussions, developing a detailed reporting process, and outlining how to work with physicians to treat them.
Pitt County Schools Community and Student Services Director Travis Lewis says this new policy is crucial for student success.
“The effects of a concussion can impact any student in the classroom. And so we want to be able to make sure that they’re able to focus, that their health-related issues aren’t impacting them any more than what we can accommodate for,” Lewis said.
Pitt County Schools is looking at policies for other school systems across the state and working with Vidant to develop best practices. They’ve already started implementing some plans.
Lewis says each student must complete a health form and now, that asks about concussions.
“We’ve already had some families report back that over the summer, their son or daughter did in fact suffer a concussion or a severe head injury and as such, we’re working with those families to see how we can accommodate them,” Lewis said.
Studies show concussions in younger kids are on the rise and are oftentimes more dangerous because many go untreated.