This time next month, hundreds of thousands of students in New South Wales and Victoria will be back at school after months of home learning. But another country’s return to face-to-face learning has seen a big rise in children being kept home due to COVID-19. In England, which reopened schools in early September, the number of COVID-related student absences climbed from 122,000 to 204,000 in two weeks. The data has made headlines — so are there any lessons for Australia? What does the data say? According to data released by the UK government on Tuesday , the number of absences linked to COVID-19 climbed between September 16 and September 30. On September 30, an estimated 204,000 pupils, or 2.5 per cent of all public school students in England, were away from school for COVID-related reasons. That included 102,000 students with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and 84,000 with a suspected case. The remaining 18,000 kids were away for other reasons, including restrictions or being in isolation. Infectious diseases expert Robert Booy said illness-based absenteeism happened anyway, regardless of COVID-19. “You normally get increased absenteeism when school goes back because viruses of many kinds go around,” Professor Booy said. What might this mean… Read full this story
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