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Children's Mercy brings teachers to long-term patients

Posted at 9:55 PM, Oct 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-20 12:40:43-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When you walk into Jojo Matlock's room, you can instantly tell he loves superheroes. From his Batman blanket to his Spiderman helmet, he is like your typical five-year-old boy. 

But instead of spending his days at school in kindergarten, Jojo spends his days and nights at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. 

He is a patient currently battling cancer, which means he's unable to go to school.

And this is one reason why Children's Mercy brings school to him, turning his hospital room into a classroom. 

"Nobody wakes up thinking they are going to be in the hospital or have a problem. We get to see families and be a part of that journey with them," said Shawna Mazeitis, Jojo's teacher. 

Mazeitis is one of three hospital-based teachers. 

They teach all subjects to patients of all ages, as long as the patient is in the hospital for five days or longer. They are certified and licensed in both Missouri and Kansas. 

"We want them to have as normal an experience as possible," said Gayle Domsch, another teacher. "If we say, 'Oh, you're too sick to do that.' What we are doing is cutting off their chance to be normal. We can't do that. We have to keep going. We have to keep working. We have to keep learning."  

Bedside school instruction is available from September through May for students from any school district in the region, public, private or home-schooled. The hospital offers summer learning experiences offered in June, July and August.