Parents across the region are still choosing to keep pupils at home for safety reasons, even as the overall rate of Covid school absences continued its downward trend this week.
Highland Council, which was at an all-time high in early September with 8.6% of pupils absent because of Covid-19, is now nearer to 2%.
The latest statistics show that the percentage of pupils absent due to Covid-19 has gone down across the north and north east.
But still, just under 200 pupils are at home “contrary to public health advice”, according to the most recent Scottish Government statistics. For some parents, this stems from confusion about safety measures and protocol.
How many pupils are home against health advice?
Despite the ongoing public health restrictions in schools and the recent extension of the vaccine to 12-15-year-olds, many parents are still feeling uncertain about sending their children to school.
An Ordiquhill mother, who recently spoke out to question why her daughter wasn’t asked to isolate when her close friend tested positive for Covid-19, is one of the parents feeling uncertain.
She has received multiple letters from her school notifying her of new cases over the past week. She heard from students and friends that her daughter’s class had seven positive cases, but until now has only received three letters from school.
Between hearing about cases from neighbours and the school sending out its own notices, she said it’s difficult to know exactly what the numbers are.
Members of her family – including herself and her daughter – at high-risk due to other conditions.
For that reason, she is choosing to keep her child at home. And she’s not alone in her decision.
Statistics show that 189 students around the north and north east are at home because their parents have kept them there “contrary to public health guidance”.
Across all of Scotland, there are 678 pupils at home for this reason.
What are the latest Covid-19 absence numbers?
In the north and north east, Aberdeenshire Council has the highest percentage of Covid school absences, with 3.6%. That’s followed closely by Aberdeen City at 3.3%, Highland at 2.3% and Moray at 2.1%.
This week continues a period of declining absence rates around the patch, after a sharp spike to start the school year.
The percentages are sporadic in the island councils. Small pupil rolls cause pronounced changes in the case of an outbreak or a missing report. But all three island councils are currently back below 2%.
How is Covid-19 affecting staff absences?
The Scottish Government also tracks how many teachers and other members of staff are absent for Covid-19 related reasons.
Much like the decline in pupil absences, Highland Council has seen a steady decrease in the number of staff members who are missing due to Covid-19.
The UK Government recently announced that young people aged 12 and older can receive a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine beginning Monday September 20.