PARENTS are pulling kids out of school early to avoid the "Pingdemic" and having to cancel their summer holidays.
Youngsters are being kept at home by their worried parents to avoid the risk of being "pinged" or told to self-isolate ahead of the summer holidays, it's been revealed.
The NHS Test & Trace app has ordered a record 520,194 to stay home in just a week, a 46 per cent rise on the previous seven days.
This means a staggering two million Brits are now thought to be stuck at home.
Testing labs have been swamped as vast numbers are advised to get checked, meaning vital PCR tests are not available in some areas.
Despite many months of sudden isolations and disrupted learning, parents are unwilling to cancel holidays just because their child was in the same ‘bubble’ as another pupil who had tested positive, the Mail on Sunday reports.
Of the 830,000 kids who were at home last week, 750,000 – almost a tenth of all schoolchildren – were isolating after coming into contact with a Covid case.
James Bowen, director of policy at the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "We are picking up on reports of parents saying they will keep their child off school to avoid being asked to self-isolate during the school holidays."
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said it was "concerned" about term ending prematurely for some pupils.
He added: "We are not casting blame on parents, because we understand the importance of holidays after such a torrid year.
"But we would encourage attendance where children are not ill or self-isolating."
One mum from Wales said that she is not taking the risk of her kids catching Covid in the classroom after "several classes in my kids' school have confirmed cases."
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Another said that as school lessons begin to "wind down," she is "not feeling guilty about them losing out on anything" by keeping her children at home.
Just yesterday, it was announced that a tube line was suspended and two others affected after the "Pingdemic" cut staff numbers.
Train services are being affected by a staff shortage triggered when workers were told to self-isolate.
The Metropolitan Line was not running after control room staff were alerted yesterday morning.
The Piccadilly and District line was also affected.
Richard Jones, London Underground's head of network operations, said: "Due to a shortage of control room staff who are having to self-isolate following notification this morning via the Test and Trace app, there will be no service on the Metropolitan line for the rest of the day.
"This will also impact the Piccadilly line with no service between South Harrow and Uxbridge and no service on the District line between High Street Kensington and Edgware.
"We apologise to customers for the disruption. London Underground tickets will be accepted on local bus services."
The 'Pingdemic' has also crippled pubs, factories, hospitals and airports with needless staff isolations.
Worried energy sector sources said the scale of the crisis could impact vital infrastructure that keeps the lights on.
The problem has spilt over to showbiz.
Filming of the second series of steamy bonkbuster Bridgerton ground to a halt after a member of the production team tested positive for Covid.
The entire cast and crew have now been tested at Wrotham Hall, an 18th century pile in Hertfordshire.
And anyone who came into contact with the infected person has gone into isolation.
Bosses of the Netflix drama are now concerned that the same fate may hit its other major production, The Crown, which is about to start filming at various locations.
The shooting of Tom Cruise’s new Mission Impossible movie has also been halted for a second time after a Covid outbreak among the crew working on scenes in Longcross Studios at Chertsey, Surrey.
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