Self-assessment tool


The following self-screening tool has been developed by the University of Sussex. It is designed to help staff and students to self-identify if they may need to discuss an elevated vulnerability (to suffering more serious symptoms should they contract Covid-19) with their line manager, course leader, GP or an occupational health professional. It is designed specifically to help people identify their clinical vulnerability to Covid-19. 

If you diagnose yourself as vulnerable or high risk as a result of using this tool then we want to support you and listen to your concerns and in order to do this you would need to speak to your line manager.

The self-assessment tool is in two parts.

Part 1: The first part helps to identify increased vulnerability to more serious symptoms for people who do not have an underlying health condition.

Part 2: The second part helps to advise people with underlying health conditions, or who are pregnant, and may be more vulnerable to the effects of Covid-19, on what to do next.

Background notes and reference: The self-assessment tool was adapted from the ALAMA guidance, who had categorised Covid risk into the following four tiers of vulnerability. Please note: while the ALAMA toolkit and guidance is a useful resource for managers and individual to assess COVID vulnerability, it is not a substitute for medical assessment.

You can access the full self-assessment tool [235 KB].

What is the tool?

This is a tool that helps assess an individual’s vulnerability to suffering more serious symptoms with Covid-19. The information draws on advice published by the Association of Local Authority Medical Advisors (ALAMA).   

This is not an interactive tool, and users will need to calculate their own level of vulnerability.

Scientific data shows that our chances of becoming seriously ill with Covid-19 increases with age. For example, a healthy 60-year-old has over 30 times the statistical risk of dying from contracting Covid-19 than a healthy 20-year-old. 

Yet, we know that not everyone of the same age is equally at risk. Our chances of developing serious Covid 19 symptoms appears to vary according to a number of other factors including: gender, ethnicity, body mass index (BMI) and pre-existing health conditions.

How do I calculate my level of vulnerability?

To calculate your vulnerability you start with your birth age and then add or subtract additional years based on a set of risk factors.

In general, being: overweight, from a BAME background or having a serious underlying health condition increases your Covid vulnerability. However, being a woman reduces your Covid vulnerability.

You can read more about how ALAMA calculates Covid vulnerability and our background notes and reference at the end of the self-assessment tool [235 KB]. 

Do I have to share my results with anyone?

No, we have created a simple questionnaire-style tool that allows you to estimate your own Covid vulnerability. What you do with the results of the self-assessment tool are entirely up to you.

It is a voluntary self-assessment tool to help you to assess your comparative risk of developing more serious covid-19 symptoms if you contract the virus. There is no need to provide personal information such as name on this form or to send a copy of the results to your line manager or course leader. It is for your eyes only!

It is a simple tool for your own use that you may find helpful in making an initial decision about whether or not it would be appropriate for you to seek further medical or occupational health advice about working and/or studying at home or on campus during the pandemic. 

What do I do if I think I have a high vulnerability?

  1. When there is already clear evidence of increased vulnerability to suffering more serious symptoms, for example, if you have a shielding letter, then attending campus may not be advised at this time. Where this is the case, it is anticipated that suitable home working or study arrangements can be agreed without the need for further assessment or utilising the services of occupational health.
  1. In other cases, where an elevated risk of suffering more serious symptoms is newly self-identified through using this tool or in other ways, you may need to be further assessed by your GP and/or occupational health service in relation to COVID-19 risk.  In the case of university staff, your HR Business Partner (HRBP) can refer you, in confidence, to our occupational health service where appropriate. 

What do I do if I am still worried about something?

Our knowledge of the coronavirus is changing constantly. We understand that you may complete the tool and – despite having a low Covid vulnerability or lack of underlying health condition – still have some concerns about your level of risk.  In this case, we are here to support you.

We will be running return to campus webinars and tours to help address your concerns and show you the health and safety measures that are in place to make the University a Covid-secure work and study environment.  We are also looking at ways to make it easier for you to return to campus via both personal and public transport options, including our improved cycle to work scheme

Ultimately, we know that every case is different so please do raise any concern not covered within this document with your line manager or course leader.  We will be providing them with a list of frequently asked questions and guidance (that will be updated regularly) so that they can support you through this unprecedented time.

Finally, In the event that you are experiencing mental health problems (e.g. depression or anxiety) that may require you to receive additional support to return to campus, staff can also ask their HR business partner to refer you to occupational health for further guidance.


    Please access the self-assessment tool [PDF 235KB]