The number of students decreases the more they isolate themselves because of possible contact with the Covid-19 case

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The proportion of students attending schools in England fell last week as more students had to isolate themselves, government data suggests.

The Department of Education estimates that 3.3 percent of all pupils on roll, up to 264,000, were out of school for Covid-19-related reasons on March 25, compared to 2.5 percent on March 18.

The data suggests that 220,000 students isolated themselves last Thursday because of possible contact with a case of Covid-19, up from 169,000 in the week before.

In total, 28,000 students were absent because they thought they had Covid-19 on March 25, up from 21,000 the week before, and 9,000 were free after a positive test for the virus, against 7,000.

And 7,000 students were absent because their school was closed for Covid-19-related reasons, up from 4,000.

About 87 percent of secondary school students were on March 25, down from 89 percent on March 18. School attendance also dropped from 95 percent the week before to 93 percent on Thursday.

The proportion of students attending schools in England fell last week as more students had to isolate themselves, government data suggests.  Pictured: Students arrive and socially distance themselves as they queue up to take a lateral flow test at Archway School in Stroud in Gloucestershire, 23 March

The proportion of students attending schools in England fell last week as more students had to isolate themselves, government data suggests. Pictured: Students arrive and socially distance themselves as they queue up to take a lateral flow test at Archway School in Stroud in Gloucestershire, 23 March

Secondary schools in England were given the flexibility to stagger the return of their students between March 8 and 12, so that students could test en masse.

All high school students were expected to take three rapid Covid-19 tests on their return, three to five days apart, and then retest at home twice a week.

The DfE said the main reason for absence among students who did not attend school for Covid-19-related reasons was self-isolation from contact with a possible case within the school.

On Tuesday, guidelines for schools were updated following the government’s announcement that anyone who receives a positive result using a lateral flow test will be asked to take a confirmatory lab-based PCR test.

All positive results from rapid asymptomatic tests administered by students and teachers, at home or at school, must now be confirmed with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within two days.

If the PCR test is negative, students and staff can now return to class and stop isolating themselves, the advisory said.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) last week showed that the Covid-19 infection level among high school children in England had risen slightly.

According to estimates by the ONS, the percentage of children in school years 7 through 11 who tested positive for Covid-19 in the week to March 20, was 0.43 percent, up from 0.32 percent the week before.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “ While there was a slight dip in attendance last week, this was always likely because Covid positive cases emerged and Covid protocols on that made it necessary themselves. isolation from close contacts.

Pictured: A staff member wearing PPE processes the Covid-19 test of a student's Innova lateral flow, which takes 30 minutes to produce a result, at the Park Lane Academy gym in Halifax, Northwestern England on March 8, 2021, while schools after easing lockdown

Pictured: A staff member wearing PPE processes the Covid-19 test of a student's Innova lateral flow, which takes 30 minutes to produce a result, at the Park Lane Academy gym in Halifax, Northwestern England on March 8, 2021, while schools after easing lockdown

Pictured: A staff member wearing PPE processes the Covid-19 test of a student’s Innova lateral flow, which takes 30 minutes to produce a result, at the Park Lane Academy gym in Halifax, Northwestern England on March 8, 2021, while schools after easing lockdown

Overall, however, attendance levels have risen remarkably well, and the schools and their staff deserve a lot of credit for everything they’ve done.

“There is now the natural firebreak of the Easter holidays and we will see where we are at the beginning of the next semester.

“Everyone will of course hope that the relaxation of Covid restrictions in the wider society will not lead to an escalation in the number of positive cases in schools, with the disruption of education.”

A DfE spokesperson said: “Turnout in schools remains higher than at any point during the fall period as students and staff continue to follow the protective measures outlined in our guidelines to reduce transmission of the virus.

‘Now that the testing program is in full swing and millions of tests are being administered every week, we see only a small increase in the number of positive and self-isolating students.

“We are grateful to everyone who continues to test at home twice a week and insulate themselves where necessary, and do their part to keep everyone as safe as possible.”