Thousands of West Sussex school children have caught Covid but no self-isolation figures available

More than 3,400 schoolchildren in West Sussex have tested positive for Covid-19 since May, councillors have been told.

Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 12:27 pm
A rising number of cases has seen a 'pingdemic' with people told to isolate having come into close contact with someone testing positive with Covid-19 (Photo illustration by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The figures were shared during a meeting of the full council on Friday (July 16), after Kirsty Lord (Lib Dem, Hassocks & Burgess Hill South) asked about Covid restrictions in schools.

Ms Lord said: “While adults are enjoying socialising at home, in pubs and restaurants and able to sit in crowds at Wimbledon and Wembley, Covid restrictions have been continuing in our schools and many children and teachers are now missing the end of term, with whole classes or even year groups isolating.”

Around 115,000 children attend nursery, primary and secondary schools across the county.

Nigel Jupp, cabinet member for education & skills, said 3,493 of them – some three per cent – had tested positive since early May.

While the council received weekly updates on infection rates, he was unable to say how many youngsters were isolating as the number ‘varies considerably from day to day’.

Mr Jupp was also unable to say how many school days had been lost to the pandemic.

He told the meeting that the council relied on schools to provide that information and he would make inquiries.

Ms Lord, whose son was on his tenth day of isolation when the meeting was held, asked what the council was doing to push the government and the Department for Education on the issue of school restrictions.

She said: “It sounds like maybe they don’t really understand the impact of this on our children and teachers.

“We’re very concerned that we don’t suffer a third year of significant disruption to their education whilst adult life continues to normalise.”

Mr Jupp said: “We are lobbying our MPs and also writing to the Department for Education and the minister on those particular aspects.”