TWO schools were forced to send pupils home this week because of high levels of staff absence caused by Covid.

Testbourne Community School, in Micheldever Road, Whitchurch was partially closed on Thursday because of “high levels of staff absence”.

The school asked students in Year 7 to work from home, with work available for them to do online.

Read more: New pop-up Covid vaccination centre opening in Basingstoke

The Clere School, in Burghclere, was also partially closed this week.

A statement issued by the school said: “Due to high levels of staff absence caused by Covid it is now not possible to provide on-site learning for all five year groups.”

It asked students in Year 9 to work from home on both Wednesday and Thursday.

The school has an INSET day today so is closed to all pupils.

No schools in the borough are listed as being closed today by Hampshire County Council.

Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi is expected to make contingency plans for rising rates of staff absences in schools across England.

Figures from the government show that one in 12 teachers was absent during the first week of term after the Christmas holidays, with 4.9 per cent off because of Covid.

In addition, 8.9 per cent of teaching assistants and other staff were also off during the first week back.

In England, secondary school pupils now have to wear a mask in school, with this guidance set to be reviewed on January 26.

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