Sharp rise in unjustified absences from school due to Covid-19
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Sharp rise in unjustified absences from school due to Covid-19

Credit: Belga

Schools in Brussels and Wallonia experienced a boom in unjustified absences as a result of the coronavirus crisis and hybrid instruction, Le Soir reported on Saturday.

Students receive half of their instruction online and the remainder in class due to the Covid-19 crisis.

However, absenteeism in the Federation’s schools increased by 38% in November, according to FAPEO, the federation of public-school parents’ associations.

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FAPEO reported that the education authorities had registered an increase of almost 40% in students reporting sick in the first 10 weeks of the 2020-2021 academic year, compared to the corresponding period of 2019-2020.

Education is compulsory in Belgium for children aged 5 to 18 years, and any absences from school must be justified by a letter from a parent, a medical certificate or, since the outbreak of the pandemic, a quarantine certificate. Each student has a right to nine such justified half days of absence per school year.

By 15 November 2020, 7,838 students had already been absent for a minimum of nine half-days, as against 5,676 one year earlier.

The Brussels Times