UNISON has a brand new set of FAQs for members so they know where they stand on a range of issues, including face coverings, cleaning, social distancing, childcare, cover supervision and lots more.

They cover all school settings: primaries, secondaries, special schools, nursery schools and early years.

Risk assessments

Before staff return to work in September, schools must provide a risk assessment saying how they will protect their staff. They should also set aside time to go through this with their staff. 

If you have not been spoken to about your risk assessment or had a risk assessment prior to your school opening in September, you should speak to your head teacher and request that a risk assessment is done before you return to work.

Vulnerable staff

UNISON does not accept the government's position that all vulnerable employees can attend school from September. Under the DfE guidance, little PPE would be provided and social distancing would be very difficult. As a result, schools and colleges will have fewer protective measures in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 than most other workplaces. Staff who are medically vulnerable or otherwise at higher risk will still therefore be at a greater risk if they contract the virus.

Our joint union guidance therefore calls for 'Clinically Extremely Vulnerable' (CEV) employees to be able to work from home from September if they choose to.

In relation to all other vulnerable and at risk groups, we want schools to undertake individual risk assessments to consider the range of measures needed to protect each individual, and for consideration of home working in these cases.

The guide covers:

  • Extremely clinically vulnerable staff
  • Clinically vulnerable staff
  • Pregnant staff or new mothers
  • Older or male staff
  • Overweight staff
  • Black staff
  • Disabled staff
  • Staff living with or caring for a family member who is medically vulnerable or at higher risk
  • Staff who are otherwise anxious about returning to work and mental health considerations

Joint unions advice on medically vulnerable and higher risk groups


Aug 24, 2020