The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called for the Welsh Government to speed up the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines over half term after new Department for Education figures reveal over 58,000 school sessions in Wales were missed between October 11 to October 15.
The figures, released last night, do not show the COVID-19 infection rates in schools as Welsh Government data does not distinguish between COVID-19 and other illnesses, with the Government’s own report concluding this means that the estimates of COVID-19 related absence are lower than they are in reality.
Responding to these figures, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:
“We cannot allow our children’s futures to continue to suffer because of inadequate action. The Government must urgently ramp up vaccinations for 12 to 16-year-olds over the half-term holidays, to curb the spread within schools and prevent further disruption in the classroom.
“Schools have been given the impossible task of keeping children in the classroom whilst also dealing with rising Covid rates. As a result, thousands of children are now missing out on vital learning yet again due to infections and parents risk feeling abandoned. We have also seen a number of teachers warn of the effect rising cases in having on their mental health and operational capabilities.
“We must launch a half-term COVID vaccine drive in order to address this chaos and help our children catch up on lost learning before it’s too late. We also need the Government to stop lumping COVID-19 together with other illnesses in its datasets so that we have a real picture of what is going on in our schools and how we can respond better as we move deeper into the winter months.”