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Teachers and education support staff have the second highest prevalence rate for suffering from debilitating long Covid, new data uncovered by NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union shows.

The figures from the Office for National Statistics show the prevalence of self-reported long Covid, both in the whole population and employment sectors.

And they show that the teaching and education employment sector is second highest with 114,000 people suffering from the conditions, just behind the sector with the highest number of sufferers – healthcare workers on 122,000.

The Union is demanding financial compensation for teachers and education staff who have been left unable to work as a result of Covid-19.

The NASUWT is also calling for more supportive sickness policies that recognise the complex and changing nature of long Covid symptoms, which can see teachers going through extended cycles of illness, leading to periods of intermittent absence over a long period.

Improved access to ill-health retirement must also be given to provide financial protection for teachers who are too ill to work due to the impact of Covid-19.

The NASUWT wants to see a financial compensation scheme for teachers who have contracted Covid as a result of working in school.

NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach said:

“The high incidence of Long Covid identified by the ONS is deeply concerning.

“Without periods of school closure in the past year, it is possible that the number of cases could be much higher.

“The number of teachers who may be affected with Covid-related long-term illness could be a ticking time-bomb.

“Teachers need to be supported by sickness management policies that are compassionate and recognise the complex and debilitating nature of Long Covid.

“Teachers experiencing Long Covid should not be made to live in fear of losing their jobs or of financial hardship if they are no longer able to do their jobs.

“The Government should consider regulations that ensure access to ill-health retirement provision for those with Long Covid.

“Ministers must, as a matter of urgency, provide financial compensation for all teachers, including supply teachers, where their careers have been impacted due to Covid-19.”

The ONS data, which covers the four-week period ending 6 March, finds that over a million people are living with long Covid, out of 4.3 million confirmed positive tests.

Other findings in the data across the population include:

  • One-third of long Covid sufferers have had symptoms for more than 39 weeks
  • 478,000 describe their symptoms as impacting on their ability to undertake day-to-day activities a little, and 196,000 say it impacts ‘a lot’
  • Roughly two-thirds of Long Covid sufferers are women
  • The vast majority (almost 800,000) had no pre-existing health condition
  • Although adults have a far higher prevalence rate, 43,000 children are affected
The links to the information from the ONS is Prevalence of ongoing symptoms following coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the UK: 1 April 2021.

And the data in Excel is on All data relating to prevalence of ongoing symptoms following coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the UK.

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