Almost half of UK teachers, many of whom received a triple hit, tested positive for Covid in the last term, a new survey has found.
Despite the Government’s insistence that it is ‘business as usual’ in schools in England, 48% of teachers surveyed by teachers’ union NASUWT said they had tested positive in the spring.
Additionally, nearly 30 per cent said their school had been forced to close or send classes or age groups home due to a Covid outbreak.
The NASUWT expressed concern over high Covid rates in schools and called for more protection and support for teachers, many of whom have had Covid multiple times.
More than a quarter (26%) of those who took part in the survey of 4,000 members said they felt pressured to go to work even when they thought they had symptoms of Covid-19. Meanwhile, just under a third struggled to access free tests.
“Regardless of what the Prime Minister tries to pretend, the pandemic is still with us – continues to disrupt the education of children due to the government’s usual approach,” said Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of NASUWT .
Almost one in three teachers surveyed (29%) said a Covid outbreak had been declared at their school or college in the last term, but only half (53%) of those who participated in the survey were confident that their environment had an outbreak management plan in place.
Just over 7% of those who responded to the survey – around 260 NASUWT members – said that after having Covid-19 they were asked to return to school by the sixth day of school. absence after a positive test.
Three in five (59%) said they generally felt pressured to return to school when they were sick, and 28% said they did not think their school or college had handled their health well and their safety.
“Teachers have been left vulnerable and unsupported since Covid-19 mitigation measures were removed,” Roach said. “Without access to free testing and additional safety measures, schools will struggle to protect staff and maintain continuity of supply for students.
“It is essential that appropriate action is taken quickly to ensure that schools continue to operate safely and that teachers are supported rather than bullied when they are sick.”