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Pregnant school staff - when should we go back?

(27 Posts)
bingandflop Thu 30-Apr-20 17:32:37

Hello all

I work at a school as a school secretary and am pregnant. I cant seem to find concrete guidelines as to whether pregnant school staff should be at schools once they fully reopen. Although I am not a teacher I am in a public facing role where social distancing is very difficult. There are elements to the job that can be done at home, but elements that cannot.

I am wary of going into work whilst pregnant but I have a feeling my HT is expecting me back as soon as schools reopen.

What are others planning to do?

Many thanks

OP’s posts: |
MentholChill Thu 30-Apr-20 17:38:32

It depends what stage of pregnancy you're at. If you're in the third trimester then this is when social distancing needs to be practiced most stringently and you should be avoiding all unnecessary contact.

There is no evidence (that I'm aware of) that prevents pregnant women in earlier pregnancy following the same guidelines as the general public. That said, I understand your trepidation about returning to work.

Littlelot Thu 30-Apr-20 18:11:39

I’m pregnant too, my head is of the opinion I should be at home and I’m not going to disagree - glad she has made the decision. All pregnant women are in the vulnerable category set out by the government although the above poster is right that this becomes even more important in 3rd trimester. I think I’ll have plenty to do from home as not all year groups will be in everyday and there are going to be students who are vulnerable or may have people at home who are shielding so I assume I will be setting work for these so my colleagues can focus on those who are in school. Don’t know though.

Margo34 Sat 02-May-20 10:14:46

Our Heads sound very similar @Littlelot.
I will be a week off 3rd trimester by the time 12wks end. My Head also knows I have been very anxious throughout pregnancy as well following MC in Oct, so perhaps my Heads 'duty of care' will step in with their knowledge of my mental health.

Hopefully when plans are unveiled by Boris next week we'll all have more of an idea what our own individual plans might be.

DollyDaph10 Mon 04-May-20 12:47:37

I’m so anxious about this! I’m praying I’m allowed to continue to WFH but I can’t see it happening, I think I will he expected back in. Can someone please remind me when the 12 weeks end? Trying to work out how far along I will be then!

MentholChill Mon 04-May-20 14:20:10

@DollyDaph10 I think it's 12 weeks from the first day of lockdown which was Monday 23rd March, making the end of the shielding period Monday 15th June.

DollyDaph10 Tue 05-May-20 16:47:15

Thank you!! Fingers crossed for us all the Sunday announcements don’t change too much and we keep being supported to stay off school and stay safe. I will be 24 weeks then x

ChablisandCrisps Wed 06-May-20 23:27:05

I work for the civil service and all pregnant women are still working unless they have a heart condition. The ones in my organisation have been offered a space on their own where feasible but other than that its stringent hand hygiene until 28 weeks. At that point they are advised to take mat leave as the biggest CV risk is apparently the 3rd trimester. Not wanting to make you worry, but if other government departments are operating this policy its possible education will too.

DollyDaph10 Thu 07-May-20 07:44:03

I think it’s very different as there is no way teaching staff would be able to access a space on their own within a school, and so working from home would be the safest option. Education means spending lots of time around students who cannot feasibly or reliably socially distance. And some schools have up to 2,000 students. I would not be as concerned if I worked with all adults. But we shall see what they decide on Sunday.

NeurotrashWarrior Thu 07-May-20 15:43:21

I would follow what your dr says; they may take any anxiety into account too.

squashie34 Thu 07-May-20 20:17:43

This is my worry, that when schools back if we cannot return due to being in the third trimester can they make us take early maternity leave as will it be classed as a 'pregnancy related illness' I work in a private school and worry that there's also the prospect I am furloughed instead. Hope there's some clarification on Sunday - however it's bonkers to me they're even considering it so soon to summer holidays when daily numbers still don't seem to be waning off (another 5,000 odd new cases today) . It's like they want kids to be some sort of social experiment and whilst they might be less likely to catch it they certainly will be great at spreading it, putting teachers and families at risk. Social distancing just cannot he maintained- how can I not pick up a 4 year old and give them a hug when they've fallen on the playground and cut their knee?

DollyDaph10 Thu 07-May-20 20:20:30

At the moment the Union seems to be protecting pregnant women by saying we must work at home and be out of school, so it’s then I will be looking to for advice and guidance. As technically if we are advised to WFH then it’s out of our hands and we are still working x

Impiz Fri 08-May-20 01:28:51

Pregnant women aren’t actually in the 12 week shielding group, apart from those who have significant heart disease.

Instead, pregnant women are in the wider vulnerable group.

A lot of schools went above and beyond the official guidance and sent all pregnant women home on full pay for 12 weeks. This was great but wasn’t actually mandated by law, unless the pregnant staff had significant heart disease.

Seeing as social distancing simply isn’t possible in school, and those in the vulnerable group have been told to be “especially stringent” in their social distancing, then the answer is that surely, pregnant women can’t go back to work in schools.

DollyDaph10 Fri 08-May-20 15:46:45

The NEU have stated no pregnant staff should be in school, so my school went by that.

DollyDaph10 Fri 08-May-20 16:01:12

So hopefully they stick by it! I agree with you that social distancing can’t happen in many schools. Wishing everyone a happy bank holiday and hopefully we get the answers we would like smile

Quarantinequeen Fri 08-May-20 16:06:28

I think back to school is inevitable for the entire vulnerable group? There are just too many people in that group (20% of the population) for schools to staff if they don't go in. When schools go back, I am pretty sure all vulnerable staff will be in. The government have quietly dropped any reference to this group and are only talking about the much smaller shielding group. Might be cynical, but I think this is on purpose so get us used to the idea we will be going back.
In some ways pregnant staff are in a better position than staff in the vulnerable group for other reasons as at least there is the option to start mat leave a bit earlier.

NeurotrashWarrior Fri 08-May-20 16:35:33

Given people with diabetes seem to be at significant increased risk, I doubt that.

NeurotrashWarrior Fri 08-May-20 17:06:45

Also, who ever is doing the briefing right now has just mentioned the 'flu' vulnerable group in terms of access to supermarket home delivery. Certainly this week I was suddenly able to get deliveries again on my shopping app.

greathat Fri 08-May-20 21:56:04

Do they have transcripts of these briefings. I'd rather read than watch

squashie34 Fri 08-May-20 22:21:19

@NeurotrashWarrior do you happen to know how they've made the slots available to you? Ie how they know you're vulnerable ? I'm just asking as I've had a shielding letter for the 12 weeks and a text again this week that tells me to shield until the 30th June- I can't get an online slot anywhere as they're all gone 😩

beelzeboob Fri 08-May-20 22:23:26

The RCOG guidelines seem pretty concrete to me

FourPlasticRings Fri 08-May-20 22:28:58

can they make us take early maternity leave as will it be classed as a 'pregnancy related illness

I think they can only make you take mat leave for pregnancy related illness if it occurs in the four weeks before your due date, according to the burgundy book. Otherwise you're just off sick.

Kingfisher5 Fri 08-May-20 23:24:27

I'll be in third trimester at the end of the 12 weeks and have been told I'm not expected in as it's not worth the risk. Also that my mat leave start date is staying the same so I'm not being forced to take early mat leave. Obviously this is not concrete but good to know I'm being supported. I imagine my class may still be mostly based at home so I can do a lot of the work from home too.

NeurotrashWarrior Sat 09-May-20 06:55:53

@squashie my local council sent a letter a while ago saying they knew I was one of the flu group, I imagine from Gp records, and they were organising various things. I think the supermarkets have used that data as I've no idea how Sainsbury's know I get a flu jab.

I suppose a lot of data is attached to your nhs number.

Could you check your local council's website and then ring someone to see if they can arrange anything? I'm not shielding so you should definitely be able to get deliveries. Dh isn't keen actually as he feels with click and collect that's fine and we aren't shielding but there's so many slots now I think it's ok, plus we are buying for inlaws.

DinoDora Sat 09-May-20 08:13:20

I have nc for this.

I was affected by a slapped cheek outbreak in schools when pregnant and I wasn't immune. The hardest aspect was the anxiety and guilt. This epidemic has brought back some memories actually; it was different though as I knew some people dismissed the whole idea of any risk and thought it was unreasonable to be 'off' and so that caused huge stress for me.

The GPS I saw actually took the stress more seriously than the virus as stress is known to have an impact on baby's health. Due to other medical issues too I had to be off for most of pregnancy (that was also a course of deep stress) and I did go on to develop antenatal anxiety. Also the experience lowered self esteem post pregnancy too. My son had very low birth weight; we have no true idea why but stress has been linked to that.

At least all pregnant women are in this together so to speak, but there are no awards for heroics and it's not a competition for bravery. Some will feel confident around guidance, others will not and shouldn't be penalised.

If any pregnant woman is feeling extremely anxious they should speak to their dr. AND is taken very seriously as it's a precursor to PND and birth in the current climate is going to be very different to the way it's usually sold to expectant mothers.

Early Mat leave is only as described by a pp below, you'd be signed off sick till then.

Excellent charity who helped me a lot:

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