ALMOST 15,000 pupils were absent from Scottish schools in one day due to Covid-19 related reasons, figures have revealed.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) said the rise in cases linked to school and impact on absence rates is a “significant cause for concern”.

The figures released by Public Health Scotland show test positivity amongst the 2-17 age group has increased to 19.9% this week, compared to 18.5% the previous week.

The statistics also indicate that two out of every 100 pupils nationally are currently absent from school for virus-related reasons.

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And, a staggering 14,914 pupils were absent on August 24 on account of Covid, the highest number recorded since schools returned on August 19.

Of those, 11,976 were not in school because they were self isolating and 2496 were absent because of Covid-19 related sickness.

There were also 399 pupils not in school because their parents “chose to keep them away from school as a precautionary measure contrary to public health guidance”.

Only one school in Scotland is completely closed due to Covid-19, Crossmichael Primary School in Dumfries and Galloway, affecting 43 children.

The EIS say the figures show the need for “continuing caution and effective mitigations” to limit the spread of the virus through schools and called for all pupils identified as close contacts to get a clear PCR test before returning to class.

Larry Flanagan (below), EIS general secretary, said: “Clearly these figures will be a cause for concern for school communities – parents, pupils, teachers and staff.

“They underline the need to remain on guard to ensure schools remain Covid conscious and that mitigations are maintained.

“The EIS believes the change in contact tracing arrangements for schools is creating confusion for parents, pupils and staff. We wish to see all pupils identified as close contacts being required to get a clear PCR test before returning to class.

“This removes the 10 day self-isolation requirement but offers a quick reassurance to school communities and will reduce the risk of in-school transmission.

The National: EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan   Photograph: Gordon Terris

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“We also support the Scottish Government position of wishing to see all secondary pupils offered the possibility of vaccination, which will help minimise disruption to education.”

The latest statistics also show that across all local authorities there were 1575 school staff members absent due to Covid-19 related reasons.

Of those, 667 teaching staff are absent due to self isolation, shielding, quarantining or looking after someone due to Covid-19, such as their child. For other school staff, 428 are absent for the same reasons.

A total of 266 teaching staff are off due to confirmed or symptoms of Covid-19, while for other school-based staff 214 are off due to the same reason.