Leicester Mercury

2,000 PUPILS MISS SCHOOL BECAUSE OF CORONAVIRU­S

2,264 OUT OF 94,000 IN THE COUNTY WERE SELF-ISOLATING

- By AMY ORTON Local Democracy Reporter amy.orton@reachplc.com @amy__orton

MORE than 2,000 pupils in Leicesters­hire missed school last week as a result of the coronaviru­s pandemic.

In the first week back since the October half-term, the attendance rate for Leicesters­hire was 91.9 per cent, according to education bosses at County Hall.

Of those who were off, 2,264 out of a total 94,000 pupils were self-isolating.

The total for that single week alone accounts for almost a quarter of the all the coronaviru­s-related absences recorded at Leicesters­hire schools since pupils headed back to class for the new school year.

In the week beginning October 26, 72 pupils and 22 staff tested positive at 48 county schools. But the relatively small number of positive tests leads to a much higher absence rate, as entire classes and sometimes whole year groups are forced into isolation if just one person in their bubble tests positive.

Councillor Deborah Taylor, cabinet member for children and families, said: “We have seen an increase in the number of cases among our pupils but, when you bear in mind we have thousands of young people attend our schools, this is still a relatively small proportion and is in line with national increases.

“We would like to remind parents the importance of keeping their children off school if they are displaying coronaviru­s symptoms and ensuring that children and young people are following the rules when it comes to self-isolating.”

Since schools returned in September, there have been 438 confirmed cases at 146 schools - 294 pupils and 144 staff.

Schools across the city and county continue to confirm cases prompting pupils to self-isolate.

Last week it was revealed that one in 10 city pupils are missing school because of parents’ concerns over coronaviru­s.

The county council didn’t provide a breakdown of the other reasons pupils are absent from school.

There have been calls for schools to be closed in the national lockdown that begins today but the government has insisted they will stay open.

Local education bosses have said the measures put in place in schools to stop the spread of the virus mean they are the safest places for young people.

The figures do not include the pupils who go to school in the Leicester City Council area.

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