A COLLEGE has moved the majority of its lessons online as the Omicron variant spreads across the country.

Abingdon & Witney College has brought in the measure to ‘reduce the number of people onsite at all campuses in the run up to Christmas’.

Since Monday, all lessons have been taking place online, with the exception of pathways, fast forward, gateway and higher education whereby lessons have remained on campus as usual.

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A college statement read: “We will keep all campuses open and have staff onsite, with provision available for students who are particularly vulnerable or need extra support, and canteen facilities will remain open.

“Course leaders will communicate with students about any lessons that are moving online, students are therefore reminded to check Teams and email messages frequently for this communication.

“Please be reassured this is a proactive measure in order to reduce the number of people onsite at all campuses in the run up to Christmas.

“As a college we’re keen to ensure that we keep ourselves and our families as safe as possible over the festive period.”

All planned exams are taking place as usual, while face coverings are required in communal areas for students, staff and visitors, unless exempt.

The college is encouraging students and staff to carry out regular lateral flow testing, and to take up vaccines and boosters.

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Elsewhere in the county, staff sickness has led to partial closures at various schools.

Year 5 at John Blandy Primary School is closed, while a Reception class at Longford Park Primary School is also closed due to staff sickness and isolation.

Four classes at Mabel Prichard School are closed until tomorrow due to staff shortages, while there is a partial closure for an Early Years class at Springfield School.

Key Stage One is working remotely today at Gateway Primary School due to staff sickness.

It comes as the number of children absent from school for Covid-related reasons in England has risen after the emergence of the Omicron variant, Government figures show.

The Department for Education (DfE) estimates 2.9 per cent of all pupils – nearly 236,000 children – were not in class for reasons connected to coronavirus on December 9.

That was up from 208,000 children, or 2.6 per cent of all pupils, on November 25.

The main reason for absence was a confirmed case of Covid-19 with approximately 109,400 pupils off for this reason.

A further 12,000 pupils were off due to restrictions being in place to manage an outbreak.

The DfE estimates 2.4 per cent of teachers and school leaders were absent due to Covid-related reasons on December 9, up from two per cent on November 25.