Welwyn Garden City family forced to self-isolate after being unable to find COVID-19 test for son with special needs
PUBLISHED: 09:00 19 September 2020
A Welwyn Garden City mother was left ‘stressed and exhausted’ after trying unsuccessfully to get her son a COVID-19 test, and now has to self-isolate for two weeks.
Emma Fryer said the nearest test site that she was able to find was over 70 miles away in Leicester.
Her son Logan, aged six, has been off from Springmead School since September 11 after waking up that Friday with what she believes was a cold.
She said: “Logan was feeling poorly, symptoms consisted of snotty nose, slight cough (not continuous) and sneezing. I telephoned the school office and left a message as to why Logan wouldn’t be in.
“Then I receive a call from the school to discuss my message. I was asked if Logan has a temperature, or continuous cough, to which I replied no, but told them he had a slight temperature during the night but is fine now.
“The lady on the telephone then tells me because Logan had a temperature he needs to get tested for COVID-19, even though he has no symptoms.”
Emma was told that Logan cannot return until he has had a test, it was suggested to her that she take Logan to Shire Park testing centre but upon their arrival a man told them the site was for pre-booked tests only.
An alternative recommended to her by the man was a community centre in Luton that is a walk-in, but he also explained that the centre would be full of people suspected of actually having the virus.
She said at the time: “So now I have to make the decision whether or not to take Logan to ‘The Luton Covid Centre of Death’, as I now refer to it. It’s not a tough decision.
“Since Friday morning I have been continuously trying to book Logan a COVID test. The nearest test site that had appointments was 75 miles away in Leicester!
“Now I wouldn’t mind a road trip to ensure my son is well and able to go to school. However, it is a long journey for any child, especially one that is feeling poorly.
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Logan has autism, and as such does not like car journeys of more than around five minutes. Considering this, along with how poorly Logan is feeling, we decide not to take him on that long journey.”
Emma spent the weekend looking for a way to have her son tested but had no success and was left tired, frustrated, stressed and exhausted.
As she was not able to get a test within the first five days Logan and everyone else in the house must now self-isolate for 14 days per government advice.
Now Emma, Logan, Emma’s husband and Emma’s step-son must all work and study from their house for two weeks.
Emma added: “Having to homeschool Logan is quite the challenge! I learnt that during lockdown. He’s such a clever boy, and it’s challenging to try and stimulate him enough. Logan also has PDA (pathological demand avoidance) which can result in meltdowns regularly. This can really affect our relationship when I’m his teacher and his mother.
“Two weeks isolation will mean that I can’t have the usual help I need with Logan, provided by my mother. My mother helps me every single day with Logan, and now I’m going to have to deal with it alone. My mother is a very important part of Logan’s life, she has helped me raise him since he was born. She is the only person I feel really understands Logan.
“Telling Logan that he is not allowed to go to school, or the shops, or the park, or anywhere is really quite stressful. Logan is also missing the social interaction that he needs to help his autism. Logan has joint hyper-mobility too, which requires regular exercise, which I am unable to do now as we would normally try and take him out of the house to make it fun.
“My step-son is missing out on his education too as the whole house is self-isolating. My husband can’t work to earn money and its all just a big mess!”
Logan’s school told Emma she could find online resources while they “sort something out”.
She told this paper that: “The school are doing the best they can I guess, I just feel like the education and mental health of my son is being overlooked.
“Logan’s learning difficulties will now be highlighted further, and I find this unacceptable. Logan already needs additional help with his learning and is always playing catch up. This will no doubt make an even bigger gap between Logan and his peers.
“I’m not blaming the school, and I’m not blaming the government. But something has got to be done. Why is there not more testing available for SEND children?”
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