Covid-19: Education chiefs decline to say how many Hertfordshire children were kept home from school to self-isolate

The council says its focus has been on supporting schools rather than compiling a list of absences

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 12:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 12:44 pm

Hundreds of thousands of children across the country have been sent home from school in order to self-isolate in recent weeks, according to national data.

But education chiefs in Hertfordshire are declining to say exactly how many of the county's schoolchildren had been asked to stay at home in the run-up to the summer holidays.

Children are asked to self-isolate if they are considered to have been a 'close contact' of a child or staff member who is confirmed to have Covid-19.

Hundreds of thousands of children across the country have been sent home from school in order to self-isolate

And that means they have to remain within their home or garden for 10 days after the last contact with the child or staff member.

Although other members of the child's family do not have to self isolate, it has still meant parents having to remain at home.

And there will be parents who will have been asking questions about just how many other schools - locally and further afield - have been in the same position.

Nevertheless Hertfordshire County Council has declined to make the information available.

Instead it suggests that its focus has been on supporting schools and points to data that will be published nationally at a later date.

“Our focus and effort has been on supporting schools to manage outbreaks rather than compiling a list of absences, as this information is already collected by the Department for Education and published regularly," said a spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council.

"The situation in Hertfordshire’s schools has been changing throughout each day, and we don’t have a complete or accurate list of which schools have recently had classes or year groups learning remotely.

"This information will be collated for the summer term and published on the website over the summer.”

According to the latest available national data, on 15 July 99.5 per cent of state-funded schools were 'open'.

However nine per cent of primary school pupils were at home across the country - after being asked to self-isolate due to a contact inside school. And for secondary schools that figure was 13.4 per cent.

A further two per cent of primary school pupils nationwide were self-isolating, due to contact outside school. And in the secondary sector that figure was 2.5 per cent.

Across the country the data suggests the percentage of pupils with a confirmed case of Covid-19 was 0.5 per cent in primary schools - and 0.9 per cent in secondary schools.

Nationally Covid-related absence in state schools had been increasing and on July 15 it was at its highest rate since schools reopened in March (2021).

The latest available Hertfordshire data relates to the w/c May 27. And that shows that all state secondary and special schools that responded to the DfE were open in the authority - and 99.6 per cent of primary schools. However the data also shows that the 'response rate' from Hertfordshire schools was just 60 per cent.