Additional HR guidance for Schools

All Schools
As of 02.03.2021

Staff at higher risk of COVID

I am at higher risk, what guidance should I be following?

The higher-risk groups include those who:

  • are older males
  • have a high body mass index (BMI)
  • have health conditions such as diabetes
  • are from some Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds

You should work from home if you can.  If you cannot work from home, you should consider this in your individual risk assessment.

I am clinically extremely vulnerable, what guidance should I be following?

Whilst the national lockdown has been effective and cases of COVID-19 are now falling, the levels of infection in the community remain high and the virus continues to pose a high risk to people across the country.

Everyone in England, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, is required to follow the new national lockdown guidance, which has been set out by the Government and applies to the whole population.

If you have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV)  you must work from home because the risk of exposure to the virus in your area may currently be higher. If you cannot work from home, then you should not attend work.

You may want to speak to your manager and HR about taking on an alternative role or change your working patterns temporarily to enable you to work from home where possible.

These new formal shielding measures will apply across the whole of England until at least 31 March.

The full guidance can be found here:

Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 - GOV.UK (

Can I attend work if I am clinically extremely vulnerable and have had the vaccine?

No. Even if you have had both doses of the vaccine, you should continue to follow this shielding advice, until further notice as we continue to assess the impact of vaccination among all groups.

If I live with someone who has been identified as extremely vulnerable and is currently ‘shielding,’ should I remain at home with them? 

If you live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, then you can continue to attend work if you are unable to work from home.

You should follow the guidance on how to stop the spread of coronavirus, including what to do to reduce your risk of catching or passing on the virus at home.

The people you live with should continue to follow the public health rules and guidance as long as they are in place, including if you have received the vaccine and also if they have received the vaccine

I am pregnant, what advice and guidance should I follow to keep me safe?

Ask your line manager to carry out pregnant worker risk assessment to ensure the health and safety of you and your baby while you are at work, this must be done in all cases even if working from home and will cover all health and safety risks associated with your role.

Further COVID guidance for pregnant women visit the website.

If you are less than 28 weeks pregnant with no underlying health conditions that place you at a greater risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19)

You and your manager must first conduct a COVID Individual Risk Assessment and referral to occupational health team. Then, you should only continue working if the risk assessment advises that it is safe to do so. This means your manager should remove or manage any risks. If this cannot be done, you should be offered suitable alternative work or working arrangements i.e. working from home. Your manager should ensure you are able to adhere to any active national guidance on social distancing. You should be supported by your manager with appropriate risk mitigation in line with recommendations to staff arising from workplace risk assessment. If alternative work cannot be found, you and your manager should seek further advice from HR.

If you are 28 weeks pregnant and beyond or with underlying health conditions that places you at a greater risk of severe illness from coronavirus

If you are 28 weeks pregnant and beyond, or if you are pregnant and have an underlying health condition that puts you at a greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19 at any gestation, you should take a more precautionary approach. This is because although you are at no more risk of contracting the virus than any other non-pregnant person who is in similar health, you have an increased risk of becoming severely ill and of pre-term birth if you contract COVID-19.  You should ensure you are able to adhere to any active national guidance on social distancing and/or advice for pregnant women considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable (you may have previously been advised to shield). For many employees, this may require working flexibly from home in a different capacity. Managers should consider both how to redeploy these staff and how to maximise the potential for homeworking, wherever possible.