Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): re-opening schools guide

Non-statutory guidance for local authorities and schools in their planning for a safe, phased opening in August 2020.

Contents
Coronavirus (COVID-19): re-opening schools guide
People who are clinically vulnerable or shielding

Special considerations for people who are clinically vulnerable or shielding

Note: This section of the guidance is currently under review and may be updated.

Pupils and staff who are clinically vulnerable

All schools should follow the latest guidance on attendance for children, young people and staff who have health conditions or are pregnant, or who live with individuals who have health conditions or are pregnant

Clinically vulnerable people are a wider group of people compared to those who are extremely clinically vulnerable (who should rigorously follow shielding measures). People who are clinically vulnerable are those with pre-existing conditions who have been advised to stringently follow the physical (social distancing) guidance and should work from home where possible.

A small minority of children will fall into this category, and parents should follow medical advice if their child is in this category.

Staff who fall into this category should be supported to work from home where possible, for example by asking them to support remote education, carry out lesson planning or other roles which can be done from home. If they cannot work from home, they should be offered the safest available on-site roles, staying 2 metres away from others wherever possible, although the individual may choose to take on a role that does not allow for this distance if they prefer to do so. If they have to spend time within 2 metres of other people, settings must carefully assess and discuss with them whether this involves an acceptable level of risk.

Pupils and staff who live with someone who is clinically vulnerable

If a child, young person or a member of staff lives with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable as above), including those who are pregnant, they can attend their education or childcare setting. Further information, including the list of underlying health conditions that make people clinically vulnerable, is available in the physical distancing guide on the NHS Inform website.

Pupils and staff who are shielding (extremely clinically vulnerable people)

This is a different group to those who are clinically vulnerable (as described above). Those who are shielding are extremely clinically vulnerable and require a different set of measures to keep them safe.

People with serious underlying health conditions are strongly advised to follow shielding measures to keep themselves safe and not to attend school in person. The most up to date guidance and list of underlying health conditions that necessitate shielding should be checked on the NHS Inform website under the shielding section.

When planning for a wider, phased return of pupils and staff, education authorities and schools should consider the distance learning and support needs of both pupils and staff who are shielding.

Pupils and staff who are living with someone who is shielding

People who have household members who are at very high risk of severe illness (requiring 'shielding') should only attend the education setting if they are able to stringently adhere to physical distancing. Such children should have an individual risk assessment conducted before the most appropriate place of care is determined.

When planning for a wider, phased return of pupils and staff, education authorities and schools should consider the distance learning and support needs of both pupils and staff who are living with people who are shielding.