Don’t keep children home over isolation fears, No10 says after 1m missed school last week

·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Downing Street called on parents not to take their children out of school over fears they will be told to self-isolate as the number of those staying home due to covid rules topped the one million mark.

Last week approximately 934,000 children were isolating due to a possible contact with a Covid case, according to Government figures.

A further 47,000 pupils were off because of contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus and 34,000 stayed home with a suspected case of Covid-19. A further 35,000 pupils were off as a result of school closures due to Covid-related reasons.

It comes amid fears that some parents are now pulling their children out of school for the last few days over concerns they might get told to self-isolate.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman acknowledged that isolation is “deeply challenging” for young people and parents but said it was a “vital tool” in dealing with the pandemic.

Asked about concerns some parents were keeping children home to avoid the rules, he said it was “incredibly valuable” for them to be in education.

The spokesman added: “We would want and indeed expect all parents to make sure their children are attending school.”

Around 14 per cent of state school pupils did not attend class for Covid-19 related reasons on July 15, up from 11 per cent on July 8, according to the Department for Education statistics.

The school bubble system in which classes can be sent home was dropped on Monday but not before millions of families were disrupted.

Arrangements for the final days of this term will be at the discretion of individual schools. Summer schools will not need to organise children into bubbles and from August 16, those under 18 will no longer need to self-isolate after being a close contact with a case.

Enhanced hygiene and ventilation will remain in place for the autumn term, but masks will no longer be advised in classrooms or communal areas.

From September, secondary schools will be expected to provide two tests at the start of term, and regular home-testing will continue until the end of September.

Previously Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said he did not think it was “acceptable that children face greater restrictions over and above those of greater society.”

“Children are better off in classrooms with their friends and teachers. Millions of children and young people have been back in the classroom since March 8…this is hugely valuable for their wellbeing and education.”

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