Half of the City of London Corporation’s family of schools have staff or pupils who have tested positive for coronavirus this term.
After nearly a full school roll “close to normal attendance rates” when children went back after the school holidays, they are now closer to 83% as children or staff await test results.
And more than half of the City’s family of schools “have had confirmed tests, whilst others are waiting”, according to the Corporation’s strategic director of education.
The schools supported by the Corporation are in the City, Southwark, Islington, Hackney, Highbury Grove, Shoreditch Park, Highgate Hill and primaries in Islington, Rotherhithe and Bermondsey and Newham Collegiate Sixth Form.
Dr Anne Bamford said testing is in short supply and there are also some delays in getting results back.
However she said: “The return to school has been very positive. They have been excited and happy to be back.”
She explained that schools are running a recovery programme and help around well-being after many pupils spent months at home during lockdown.
During the summer just 41% of Year 6 and Year 10 pupils went to summer English and maths catch up sessions to help them after the disruption caused by lockdown.
Overall 345 pupils and six sixth formers attended at least 90% of the sessions over the ten-day catch up funded with £70,000 from the Covid contingency fund.
Attendance was slightly higher, for children in the Pupil Premium cohort with an average 42% of disadvantaged pupils attending more than 90% of the sessions.
A City Corporation report said: “Lower than anticipated rates of attendance could be attributed to the circumstances and emotions of families and children surrounding Covid-19 and the summer heatwave.”
The coming autumn and winter months will pose challenges as schools combat colder weather when it could be less practical to use outdoor space.
Some, like the City of London School for Girls are worried about their dining space, said Dr Bamford at an education board meeting.