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STAFF ABSENCES CAUSED BY COVID-19 HAVING SERIOUS IMPACT ON SCHOOLS – POLL

Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union

Nearly a quarter of teachers say staff absences due to Covid-19 are having a major impact on their schools, a survey released by NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union has found.

Of nearly 7,000 teachers who responded to our survey, 23% said absences were having a major impact and 61% said they were having some impact as schools have returned over the last week.

Almost half (46%) of teachers are having to cover for absent colleagues and only 44% said their school had a plan in place for deploying CO2 monitors in their school. Some 18% said there was no plan in place.

NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach said:

“It is very concerning that our members are telling us that staff absences due to Covid-19 are having serious impacts on teaching and learning.

“Higher rates of staff absence are making a very challenging situation much worse for schools struggling to maintain appropriate staffing levels without disrupting pupils’ education.

“Whilst the start of term saw around 1 in 10 teachers absent due to Coronavirus, these numbers are likely to increase in the absence of effective measures to ensure Covid-safety in classrooms.

“It is disturbing that teachers tell us that in some schools there is no effective system in place for deploying CO2 monitors in classrooms.

“Urgent additional investment is needed in providing air filtration units to every classroom where they are needed. Ensuring good ventilation is vital to minimising further disruption to pupils’ education.

“Inviting schools to bid for the limited number of air purifiers that are being made available by the Government is simply not good enough. The safety of pupils and staff in classrooms should not be a lottery.”

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