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What are your rights if Covid-19 reaches your school?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by nomad, Feb 21, 2020.

  1. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    What are your rights if Covid-19 reaches your school?


    Teachers are reminded of the provision set out in the ‘Burgundy Book’ at Section 4 Sick Pay Scheme at Paragraph 10 ‘Contact with infectious diseases’ and Paragraph 10.1 and 10.3 as follows:

    10.1 ‘When the approved medical practitioner attests that there is evidence to show a reasonable probability that an absence was due to an infectious or contagious illness contracted directly in the course of the teacher’s employment full pay shall be allowed for such period of absence as may be authorised by the approved medical practitioner as being due to the illness, and such absence shall not be reckoned against the teacher’s entitlement to sick leave under paragraph 2 above, though such absences are reckonable for entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay. ‘

    10.3 ‘A teacher residing in a house in which some other person is suffer-ing from an infectious disease shall at once notify the employer and the teacher shall, if required, take such precautions as may be prescribed, provided that if in the opinion of the approved medical practitioner it is considered inadvisable, notwithstanding such precautions, for such teacher to attend duty, full pay shall be allowed during any enforced absence from duty, such pay being sick pay for the purpose of paragraphs 3 to 7.5 above.

    This provision will also apply where, in the opinion of an approved medical practitioner, it is inadvisable for a teacher to attend duty for precautionary reasons due to infectious disease in the workplace. The period of the absence under this paragraph shall not be reckoned against the. teacher’s entitlement to sick leave under paragraph 2 above, though such absences are reckonable for entitlements to Statutory Sick Pay.’

    If you are a TA, then the Green Book (rather than the Burgundy Book) applies.


    The provision for support staff set out in the ‘Green Book’ sickness scheme at Part 2 Para 10.9 is as follows:

    “An employee who is prevented from attending work because of contact with infectious disease shall be entitled to receive normal pay. The period of absence on this account shall not be reckoned against the employee’s entitlements under this scheme”

    In the event that a member of support staff is required to self-isolate or is placed in quarantine, the provision above should be applied.

    Only if / when the employee is subsequently confirmed to have contracted Covid-19 should they then move on to sick pay at which point all the usual provisions will apply.
  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I'd have thought it hard for any GP to certify that.

    -- "evidence" is required. What might that evidence be?
    -- "reasonable probability" What's that? Normally in contract interpretation, civil law generally, it means 'on balance of probabilities', i.e. more than 50%. Hard to evidence coronavirus more likely to have been contracted in school than in the street/in the shops/on public transport.

    I suspect that provision would only be applicable for rare infectious diseases. Otherwise it would apply every time someone gets flu, tummy bug, a cold .....

    I guess the specific circumstances would be key - no cases in the local community generally but 50 confirmed cases in your school etc
    TheoGriff likes this.
  3. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Dunno, mate!

    I shall leave that to the schools, their HR advisers and the union reps.

    I am just advising teachers and heads of what the conditions of contract state when the Covid-19 shit hits the fan, which it almost certainly will.

    I reckon about KS2 testing time!
    Dorsetdreams and TheoGriff like this.
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    But if you are instructed not to go to school because of the virus in your house, not a good idea to get a cheap flight to Magaluf and post the pics on Facebook . . .

    Best wishes

    bevdex, towncryer, Lidnod and 6 others like this.
  5. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    The last government advice was not to close schools, I don't know if that has changed now.
    agathamorse likes this.
  6. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    While the virus is relatively uncommon in this country, it would be reasonable to assume that somebody who is infected after contact with a carrier at school actually did catch it from them. However, if it does become a lot more common, it will be impossible to say where it came from.

    For most teachers, apart from those early in their careers or who have had a lot of absence, it will not make any difference to their sick pay whether it is included in their sick pay entitlements or not. Frankly, if I caught it, I would be more worried about being one of the minority for whom it is a very serious illness than my sick pay.
    agathamorse and Sally006 like this.
  7. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    What about teachers who have special medical issues? Pregnant women or those with issues with lower immunity like type 1 diabetics?
    monicabilongame and WitchFingers like this.
  8. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    The same as in other forms of employment, I would think. I hope we don't get to the point where people have to stay at home to reduce the risk of catching it, but that would be a possibility if we were to have an epidemic.
    Deirds likes this.
  9. shevington

    shevington Occasional commenter

    Up here in the Grim North. the Local Authority sent advice to the majority of schools. One of the two large Unions has e-mailed advice to their members . Unfortunately members do not reads advice or will not have received the e-mail because there e-mail is out of date.
    agathamorse likes this.
  10. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    I suspect the government will advise schools to close pretty quickly if the situation escalates. It would be reasonable to expect staff to work from home eg posting work on the school website or similar. I understand Chinese teachers are involved in online teaching.
    BetterNow likes this.
  11. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Government plans are to shut schools if there is an outbreak:

    "Emergency planners would consider temporarily shutting schools in affected areas if there was a sudden surge in coronavirus cases in any part of the UK, as part of contingency plans being drawn up by the government.

    Department of Health sources pointed to official advisory documents, which suggest that school closures could not only potentially protect children from infection but reduce the overall transmission of the virus across the population".

    agathamorse likes this.
  12. Dorsetdreams

    Dorsetdreams Occasional commenter

    You would hope so.

    On the other hand, a disease which kills off mainly the old and the ill would look like a dream come true to a government staring at an aging post-war baby boom, an over-stretched NHS and potential post Brexit absence of care-workers. Our little darlings could be their super-spreaders.
    Sally006 likes this.
  13. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Established commenter

    agathamorse likes this.
  14. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I wonder what the rule is for somebody stuck in an area that has been locked down due to this virus, so is unable to get to school.
    BetterNow likes this.
  15. Jellybaby72

    Jellybaby72 New commenter

    It seems that at the moment different schools are making different decisions - the school that my daughter attends has students that returned from the area but not the towns affected in Italy and though 2 students have flu like symptoms they are staying open. A neighbouring school in the same situation closed the school and has carried out a deep clean. I think there need s to be clear guidelines for heads to follow as at present there are a lot of angry parents out there
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. Jellybaby72

    Jellybaby72 New commenter

    My point is there don’t seem to be any rules at the moment

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