The general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has warned that schools across the country are seeing “very severe low attendance.”
This comes amid the spread of the Omicron which is now the domincant variant in the UK.
The Health Secretary Sajid Javid refused to rule out school closures again on Monday, due to soaring number of Covid cases which has “never been seen before.”
Geoff Barton of the ASCL told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, “Listening to the speculation and the news, and certainly the emails I’ve been getting from members, you are getting some pockets of very severe low attendance, partly young people, partly staff.”
He added that one school emailed him on Tuesday morning to say 25% of staff have been off work for three weeks.
He said, “You can imagine if you can’t then get supply teachers that becomes very difficult to maintain the quality of education.”
The Health Secretary was asked on LBC on Monday, whether school closures could still be a possibility, Javid said, “Well, I don’t want to see that or any of these kinds of measures.
“I’m just going to focus on everything else we need to be doing, especially the booster programme.”
He added, “I’d say this… if you are asking me for guarantees, I will just say – as the health secretary, of course, I’m not the education secretary – as the health secretary, that there are, when it comes to our fight against this pandemic, there are no guarantees.
“But what we do know that works is, in this case, a booster shot of the vaccine.”
The government has repeatedly said one of its priorities is keeping schools open, sometimes choosing to enforce stricter measures in other areas to keep children in classrooms.