Sheffield Covid: Teacher union calls for action as one in 20 teaching staff nationwide absent due to Covid

Government needs to act swiftly to help schools stem the spread of Covid-19 as the effects of Omicron are having a major impact on schools nationwide, including Sheffield.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 2:47 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th January 2022, 2:47 pm

Sheffield National Education Union District Secretary Simon Murch said with almost one in 20 staff absent due to Covid last Thursday nationwide, there is little reason to believe the situation will improve very soon.

He said London and the south had seen a 'significant rise' in December, and the infection rate remains high in the north of England.

He said: "With the R rate high in the north of England, there are ever more compelling arguments to protect the school communities in Sheffield with proper mitigations to slow the spread of Covid and thereby ensure that education for children and young people is as uninterrupted as possible and the health and wellbeing of staff and students protected.

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Sheffield National Education Union said Government needs to act decisively and give schools the equipment they need to ensure proper ventilation in schools and colleges in an attempt to keep Covid infection as low as possible.

"Government needs to act decisively and give schools the equipment they need to ensure proper ventilation in schools and colleges in an attempt to keep Covid infection as low as possible.

"Relying on a workforce of retired teachers appearing from thin air and in record time is just not enough to meet this challenge.

"These attendance reports must now also return from being fortnightly to weekly, in the same format as before last summer.”

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315,000 children did not attend class due to Covid on January 6

Sheffield's Senior Councillor for Education, Children and Families, Jayne Dunn has also called for the Government to take urgent action on ventilation for schools after it was revealed that 3,000 pupils were absent from school in the city last week due to Covid.

The Department for Education (DfE) has revealed that the figure of children out of school for Covid-related reasons in England has risen following the Christmas holidays.

The DfE estimates that 3.9 per cent of all pupils – around 315,000 children – did not attend class for Covid-related reasons on January 6, up from 3.7 per cent on December 16.

Among pupils absent for Covid-19 reasons, the main reason was a confirmed case of coronavirus, with around 159,000 pupils (2 per cent) off for this reason, compared to approximately 111,000 pupils before Christmas.

Some 88.6 per cent of students were in class on January 6, which is up from 85.9 per cent on December 16.