Long covid: what do teachers need to be aware of?

Overview

Long covid will impact teachers with a number of school staff suffering long-term effects. The NHS explains that for some people, coronavirus can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone. This is sometimes called post-covid-19 syndrome or ‘long covid’. 

The NHS says the chances of having long-term symptoms does not seem to be linked to how ill you are when you first get coronavirus. People who had mild symptoms at first can still have long-term problems. How quickly somebody recovers from covid is likely to be very variable, and the problems that somebody can have vary too.

A study by Patient Led Research for Covid-19 found that after seven months of illness, 45% of respondents reported requiring a reduced work schedule compared to pre-illness and 22% were not working due to their health.

In this article, we look at the symptoms of long covid, what type of support you should receive from your school and link to further information.

What are the symptoms of long covid?

The British Heart Foundation explains that for some, it can seem like a cycle of improving and then getting worse again.

These long-term effects aren’t only amongst those who needed to go to hospital, or even who felt seriously unwell when they first caught the virus.

Lasting symptoms of coronavirus can include:

  • Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Problems with memory and concentration (‘brain fog’)
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Pins and needles
  • Joint pain
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Tinnitus, earaches
  • Feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
  • A high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste
  • Rashes

Returning to school after Covid

The Your Covid Recovery website explains that going back to work after illness can be challenging. Persisting symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, poor concentration and anxiety can all make return to work more difficult.

Your school will have a sickness absence policy which will outline the procedures to take depending on how long you have been absent from work.

We have published another support article which outlines the process if you are invited to a sickness absence meeting.

If you are an Edapt subscriber, you can contact us for further advice and support when returning to school.

You may be able to request a phased return to work or for reasonable adjustments to be made to support your return.

Long covid: further support

In December 2020, NHS England announced the launch of more than 70 long covid clinics, which will bring together doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists to offer both physical and psychological assessments.

It is hoped that these clinics can offer a more holistic diagnostic picture of the condition, which is much needed because it can affect so many different systems in the body.

Your COVID Recovery is one element of the five-part package of measures to boost NHS support for long covid patients. It offers a digital, interactive and tailored recovery and rehabilitation programme that has been developed by experts to provide rehabilitation support for long covid patients to manage their recovery at home.

Long Covid Support is a peer support and advocacy group for people living with long covid.

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While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.