The country's biggest teaching union has said that teachers have been almost twice as likely to catch Covid-19 as the wider population in recent months.
Analysis from the NEU teaching union says that teachers in primary and secondary schools have been 1.9 times more likely to have the coronavirus – and special school staff have been twice as likely to have it – as the general population.
The figures for support and other school staff with Covid-19 are even higher, according to the union.
Covid rates among other school support staff are said to be three times higher in primary schools and almost seven times higher in special schools.
Staff absence: 20,000 teachers off for Covid-related reasons
NEU joint general secretary Mary Bousted described the figures as "shocking" and called for an investigation.
'Serious questions' about the handling of coronavirus in schools
The NEU’s calculation is based on new Department for Education figures on the number of teachers and support staff who have been self-isolating with confirmed cases of Covid, published today.
The union says it has halved this figure to take account of the fact that a period of isolation can be longer than the period of infection.
It has used this calculation to produce an estimate for how many of those people actually had Covid while they were self-isolating over a two-week period.
The union has then produced an average figure over time and compared with this with Covid levels in the general population.
Dr Bousted said: "These shocking figures raise further very serious questions about the handling of coronavirus in schools.
“What investigations have the Department for Education made into these figures?
“Why have the ministers repeatedly told school staff and the public that there was no reason for concern when these figures indicate that there should have been real concern about the much higher Covid infection rates of teachers and other school staff?
“Why did ministers deny clinically extremely vulnerable staff the right to work from home?
“Why has it taken ministers so long to release this data?”
"What mitigating measures will ministers now propose?"
NEU estimate of Covid rates for teachers and school leaders
NEU estimate of Covid rates for other school staff
The new DfE figures released today show that in the week before Christmas nearly 20,000 teachers in England's state schools were off for "Covid-related reasons".