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Changes to VHR Categorisation for Staff

07 July 2021 | 1 min ⧖

Staff categorised as VHR by the Occupational Health Service

A Covid-19 Health Risk Categorisation Report will not be valid for the 2021/2022 school year where the Occupational Health Service (OHS) previously categorised a staff member as very high risk (VHR) before or during that time. This is per the process set out in Circulars 54/2020 or 21/2021.

Any staff member who believes they are at very high risk of serious illness from contracting COVID-19, will need to make a new application for the 2021/2022 school year. This applies whether staff were previously categorised VHR or not, and follows the process set out in Circulars 54/2020 or 21/2021 as appropriate. The application (Risk Assessment Questionnaire) should be submitted to the OHS by teachers and special needs assistants (SNAs) by 16 July and for ancillary staff by 30 July.

Some ancillary staff are considered VHR on the basis that they are over 70 years of age and so would not have needed to apply to the OHS for categorisation. Any staff member who believes they have an underlying condition or other risk beyond solely age, should now seek an assessment by the OHS ahead of the 2021/2022 school year.

A change in HSE advice during the 2021/2022 school year may result in a health risk re-categorisation for any VHR staff member. These staff members will be contacted by the OHS and will be invited to re-submit a new questionnaire.

Conclusion

It’s essential that staff who are currently categorised as VHR are immediately informed of the expiry of their current status on 30 June or 31 August 2021. These staff members must make a new application to OHS by 16 July or 30 July 2021, as appropriate. Any staff member over 70 who believes that they have an underlying condition or other risk beyond solely age should now seek an assessment.

In line with ongoing updating of advice from the HSE, or a change in medical diagnosis, the COVID-19 Health Risk Categorisation Report may expire at any stage throughout the new school year. This means the staff member will need to return to the workplace. In addition, where a medical diagnosis changes, the employee must inform the Board of Management immediately.

For more information on similar scenarios encountered by boards of management, contact a member of our Education team.


The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.

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