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The Rise of School Absence Rates due to Covid

The National Education Union has announced that new attendance figures are very worrying. In secondary schools the rate of absence for Covid-related reasons has tripled in just one week, while in primary schools the rate has doubled in a week.

Commenting on the latest attendance figures to 17 June, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said, “The new attendance figures are very worrying. In secondary schools the rate of absence for Covid-related reasons has tripled in just one week, while in primary schools the rate has doubled in a week. If the situation is not brought under control, the national situation on Covid in schools could rapidly return to the unwelcome peaks seen earlier in the pandemic. “

“The SAGE papers released last week assume that transmission in school can be reduced by 30% with mask wearing and mass testing. We believe it is essential that the Government reintroduce these measures to keep school attendance as near to normal as possible.”

It appears that the Delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading rapidly through schools. The DfE reported that COVID-related absence at state schools is now at its highest rate since schools reopened in March. The Delta variant of COVID-19 has not only changed how the virus is spreading, but has also changed the symptoms with a headache, sore throat and runny nose now the most commonly reported.

Here in Andover, Winton Community Academy have today ( Thursday 24 June 2021) sent home the whole of their Year 9 group , the year 7 and 8 groups are already at home this week taking part in learning from home. The school awaits guidance on what to do best for their pupils due to high numbers of positive lateral flow tests, which has then been confirmed with a  positive PCR result. They introduced the re- wearing of masks in school since 15th June.

Mrs Jones, headteacher at Winton Community Academy sent out an email to parents in which she wrote, “It is a very difficult time for schools when we can see the re-opening of large major events but the guidance for schools has not changed. In schools we still have to contact trace within 2 metres which means one student on average will impact between 20-30 students. In addition Public Health England have said that even with a negative PCR a child and member of staff still has to complete their period of self isolation.  There is a lot of national discussion about what this means for schools from September because if we have to continue with this practice we will all sadly see disruption and more students having to self-isolate throughout the Autumn Term. So far in this academic year only 3% of students in the school have tested positive for COVID which means the vast majority of the school are still susceptible to catching the infection and therefore many students would have to self-isolate again if the guidance doesn’t change.”

What do you think ? Do you think the whole Covid situation is now out of control in Schools ?

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