Hundreds of pupils absent from Channel Island classrooms

  • Report by ITV Channel's Caroline Lewis

Hundreds of students across the Channel Islands are unable to return to the classroom due to soaring Covid cases.

A total of 540 pupils from three different schools in Jersey are being taught remotely as a result of Covid cases amongst teaching staff.

In Jersey, there are currently 116 teachers and 115 other staff off school many of who are off due to Covid.

School attendance figures for Jersey showed that most children returned for the first day of term.

However, high numbers of teachers are now off school with Covid, a problem which is expected to continue in the coming weeks.

One school which is facing high levels of staff infections is Les Quennevais, where 21 members of staff were absent on Wednesday 5 January.

Senator Lyndon Farnham has thanked those working in education and Jersey students for their resilience during this time.

Concerns have also been raised about those students who are due to sit exams in the coming weeks, but there is uncertainty as to whether they will still go ahead as planned.

  • Deputy Rob Ward

Deputy Rob Ward has said students in the islands need certainty on their academic futures, in what is already a stressful time.

Jersey's Director of Education, Seán O'Regan said schools are "getting creative and working hard" to minimise disruption in the classroom.

He added that schools could be accommodating if pupils missed mock exams, but when it comes to final end of year exams, the decision was out of their hands.

  • Jersey's Director of Education, Seán O'Regan

Pupils in Guernsey also returned to the classroom where they were met with many restrictions to try avoid a similar situation to Jersey.

All students and school staff were told to take a negative lateral flow test before going back and to continue to regularly test twice a week.

Anyone above primary school age should wear face coverings in the classroom.

There has also been a pause on school-run extra-curricular clubs and school trips.

Guernsey's Director of Education admits the issue of staff numbers is not unique to the island.

Both governments are continuing to closely monitor the situation and adjust restrictions in island schools accordingly.