Schools have observed an increasing rate of absences related to COVID, alarming the school management and authorities to worry about the decreasing grades to pupils.
In total, over 200,000 pupils were absent from schools due to Covid-related reasons on March 17, which increased from 45,100 students being absent on March 3, as represented by the most recent government figures.
To put it in more perspective the rate of Covid-related absences has risen from 0.7% on March 3 to 2.5% on March 17, causing many schools to worry about student performance in their current academic terms. The alarming increase has prompted teachers to worry about the academic standings of their students and the impact of missed school work on their grades.
The general secretary of school leaders union NAHT, Paul Whiteman, claimed that with exams looming around for many students, their absences can have a substantial amount of effect on their grades and it is indeed a worrying time. Furthermore, Mr. Whiteman added that any further turbulence can exacerbate the condition of damage caused to students’ exams and can also hinder academic recovery.
The most recent waves of new cases among students hit as they prepare for the most crucial exams of their academic life. GCSE, A-levels, and other important exams are lined up for the summer term, hence why there’s an urgency to cater to this issue first.
The concerns of rising absences are not only limited to students, data shows that the school staff is also hugely affected by Covid-related absences. 23% of all state schools had observed that over 15% of their teachers, instructor, and leaders were absent which rose from 11% on 3rd March, as indicated by recent statistics.
Mr. Whiteman expresses his concerns and adds that the most recent figures validated the union’s concerns and reveal that all of the data aligns with the alarmingly increasing issues of academic fallback indicated by union members. The recent spiking in the Covid cases has caused many to observe a serious disruption in the academics caused by Covid. It Is crucial at this point that the government as a bare minimum must offer free Covid testing facilities in educational institutions. Mr. Whiteman expressed that, these results are completely consistent with what our members have told us. In many schools, Covid instances have been on the rise again in the last week or so, in keeping with national trends. The government must remind the public that, even if the legal necessity to isolate has been eliminated, it is still necessary to take adequate steps to prevent the spread of Covid – just as it is with any other infection.
Free testing won’t be available for people any more effective from April 1st in England, except for 75 plus and over 12 who have a relatively weaker immune system, meaning that people would have to purchase their own testing kits. Moreover, with the announcement of the Living with Covid plan – people will no longer be violating the law if they do not self-isolate while infected with the virus, and access to free tests will be severely limited – by the government which has caused all the remaining restrictions to diminish, the concerns would be more prominent.
This includes the repeal of the legal obligation to self-isolate if you test positive, as well as the government’s decision to phase out free testing for the vast majority of people.