More than one million children were out of school in the last week in England due to Covid, data shows.
It is estimated that 1.05 million state schools pupils did not attend class on July 15 – a new record high since all students returned in March, Government figures show.
The country has been hit by a so-called ‘pingdemic’ in recent weeks, which has seen millions forced to isolate after being tracked by the NHS Covid-19 app.
Although it has never been a legal requirement to obey the app’s instructions, the official guidance has been that people should “self-isolate immediately” when told to.
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The Department for Education (DfE) said that, as of Thursday, the equivalent of around one in seven (14.3 per cent) children were not in school.
Of this total:
– 773,700 pupils were self-isolating due to a possible contact with a case of coronavirus from inside school;
– 160,300 pupils were self-isolating due to a possible contact with a case of coronavirus from outside school;
– 47,200 pupils had a confirmed case of coronavirus;
– 34,800 pupils were absent as a result of school closures due to Covid-19 related reasons;
– 34,500 pupils had a suspected case of coronavirus.
The attendance figures for state school pupils have been adjusted to exclude those year 11-13 students not expected to attend because they are off-site, the DfE said.
The figures come after it was reported that some parents have pulled their children out of school to avoid being ‘pinged’.
Families are said to be taking the drastic measures to save their summer trips, despite warnings infection numbers could soar after ‘Freedom Day’.
Growing numbers of parents are opting to bring their kids home to play truant so the family can avoid being hit with isolation orders ahead of planned summer trips, according to the Mail on Sunday.
James Bowen, director of policy at the National Association of Head Teachers, told the newspaper: “We are picking up on reports of parents saying they will keep their child off school to avoid being asked to self-isolate during the school holidays.”