Covid-19 Guidance and Information Hub

Coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China in January 2020.

The incubation period of COVID-19 is between 2 to 14 days. This means that if a person remains well 14 days after contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus, they have not been infected.

The following symptoms may develop in someone who has COVID-19 infection:

New continuous cough and/or High temperature.

Generally, these infections can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

If you develop any of the above symptoms:

  • Self-isolate immediately (further information in self-isolation section below)
  • Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
  • You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home
  • Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home


To prevent infection:

  • Have good hand hygiene at all times, washing your hands regularly with hot water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use hand sanitiser gels provided.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put used tissues in the bin straight away.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.


Current advice from the UK government health service is: Employees are not recommended to wear facemasks (also known as surgical masks or respirators) to protect against the virus. Facemasks are only recommended to be worn by symptomatic individuals (advised by a healthcare worker) to reduce the risk of transmitting the infection to other people.

General tips for employers:

  • Make sure everyone’s contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date.
  • You are responsible for the health and safety of your workforce and should already have identified those who are most vulnerable if they were to catch the virus. Ensure that all staff know how to report any risk to themselves from COVID-19 and that all potential incidents are reported to the relevant contact so they can understand the overall risk to the workforce.
  • Make sure all staff are aware of your response as an employer and what you are doing to protect people’s health and reduce the risk of infection spreading.
  • Continue to communicate as the situation changes. Make sure managers and senior leaders are clear on any relevant policies and processes, for example sickness reporting and sick pay, homeworking policy and procedures in case someone in the workplace develops the virus.

NSPCC Safeguarding during Coronavirus: School Governors and Trustees

Wednesday 4th March 2020 – SSP from Day 1

The Prime Minister has announced that workers who fall ill with coronavirus or who are advised to self-isolate will be entitled to receive statutory sick pay from the first day of their illness or isolation. Currently, SSP is payable from the fourth day of absence....

Wednesday 11th March 2020 – SSP Recoverable for Small Employers

The Chancellor announced in the budget that small employers (with fewer than 250 staff) will be able to recover from the Government statutory sick pay costs for up to 14 days for any member of staff who is advised to self-isolate or is diagnosed with the coronavirus....

Friday 13th March 2020 – New SSP Rules

New Statutory Sick Pay rules relating to Coronavirus come into force as of 13th March 2020. SSP must be paid to anyone: who is unable to work because they have been advised to self-isolate; or who is  caring for someone in their household who displays symptoms of...

Wednesday 18th March 2020 – School Closures

The Prime Minister confirmed that all UK schools, colleges and nurseries would close from Friday 20th March 2020 until further notice, except for looking after the children of keyworkers and vulnerable children. The aim during the closure is to provide a ‘safe place’...

Friday 20th March 2020 – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Chancellor announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Through the scheme the Government commits to cover 80% of the wages of ‘furloughed workers,’ up to £2,500 per month. A ‘furloughed worker’ is someone who remains employed but is not provided with work. The...

Friday 20th March 2020 – Isolation Notes

On 20th March 2020, the Department of Health and Social Care launched a system by which an “Isolation Note” can be issued for employees to provide to their employer where they have been told to self-isolate for more than 7 days by official advice, NHS 111 or a...

Monday 23rd March 2020 – Lockdown

The Government introduced the following lockdown measures: Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposesClosing non-essential shops and community spacesStopping all gatherings of more than two people in public The government will look again at the...

Thursday 26th March 2020 – Self-Employed Income Support Scheme

Financial support will be provided to self-employed workers through the ‘Self-Employed Income Support Scheme’. Self-employed workers will receive a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly income, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. The scheme will be open to...

COVID-19 Guidance on Vulnerable Pupils

Questions and answers about the provisions being made for vulnerable children and young people. Change made Updated guidance to include additional information on children with education health and care (EHC) plans and children in alternative provision (AP) settings....

What can we tell other members of staff if a member of staff confirms they have the virus or they are self-isolating because they have symptoms?

Ordinarily, you can’t say much about the health of a staff member due to it being sensitive personal data, however the UK Information Commissioner has stated that you can tell other members of staff in these circumstances, provided you only go as far as necessary to...

What is emergency volunteering leave?

A new statutory right to take emergency volunteer leave (EVL) is detailed in the Coronavirus Act 2020 creating a temporary new form of unpaid leave. Employees and workers can elect to take temporary leave from work, to volunteer for health and social care sectors...

How are apprenticeships affected during the COVID-19 outbreak?

The government has published guidance (including a number of FAQs) for apprentices and employers outlining the changes that the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is making to the apprenticeship programme during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Institute...

What about HR processes or procedures which are underway in school, such as disciplinary hearings, TUPE transfers or redundancy/restructuring?

Generally speaking, it is likely that such processes or procedures will need to continue in some form where possible although there is no “one size fits all” approach to this response. Redundancies, for example, may be necessary for financial reasons which...

What will happen with trainee teachers who cannot complete their 24 weeks of school practice to qualify for QTS because of school closures?

The Education Secretary confirmed in March that trainee teachers in this situation will have the 24 week requirement waived and will therefore still be able to gain QTS. Revised mandatory guidance on the criteria that organisations must meet to provide initial teacher...

Given that we will have less pupils after the Easter holidays, can we postpone the start date or withdraw any offers of employment we have made to staff we were expecting to start work with us?

Where the employee has accepted a job offer and the start date has been agreed, as this will be a term of the contract the school will only be able to change the start date with the employee's agreement, otherwise it would be in breach of contract. A new recruit may...

How do we undertake ‘right to work’ checks during the COVID-19 outbreak?

The Home Office and Immigration Enforcement published advice on 30th March 2020 for employers carrying out right to work checks during the COVID-19 outbreak. The guidance states that “As of 30 March 2020 the following temporary changes have been made: checks can now...

How can we continue to undertake DBS ID checks during the COVID-19 outbreak?

The DBS made temporary changes to the ID checking guidance, applicable from 19th March 2020. The full guidance can be found here. These changes enable ID documents to be viewed over video link and scanned images to be used in advance of the DBS check being...

What measures should be put in place for those who are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or extremely vulnerable?

The Government is advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. This group includes those who are: aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)under 70 with an...

What are the expectations on school staff working from home?

The DfE’s guidance document states that they “would expect school staff to continue to support the education of pupils, and wider work of the school, in appropriate ways agreed with their school leadership team, but school leaders should be mindful of staff wellbeing...