ALL Fife Council employees – including teachers – with underlying health conditions are being told to stay at home.

Staff who are pregnant, have a weakened immune system, long term conditions or are over 70 have been told not to come into work and work from home if possible.

An email sent out by Chief Executive Steve Grimmond also said other staff who are able to work from home should be doing so.

"If your job allows you to, and you have the equipment you need, you should start working from home from tomorrow (Wednesday 18 March) if you can," it stated.

"We run a lot of vital services for people and obviously this means some staff can’t work from home at the moment. We class these as business critical roles. Your managers will be working with you to make sure work can be carried out as safely as possible.

"Ultimately we are a single workforce and we may soon need people in non-business critical roles to support colleagues in other teams. We’ll be asking for volunteers and looking at the different skills we all have and we’ll issue more about this soon."

At the moment, all council offices remain open however, as more staff start to work from home, this will be reviewed.

The email added: "It may be necessary for some meetings to go ahead but they should be limited and carried out by teleconference or Skype if possible. You should avoid travelling to any meetings.

"It’s likely that committee meetings and council meetings will be cancelled but we’re carrying out a legal review to check whether there are some decisions which require councillors to hold some form of meeting.

"We’ll all need to prioritise emergency calls and issues. Our normal channels of communication with the public are all open at the moment, but responses to non-urgent enquiries may need to take longer than usual."

Schools are already being affected by the crisis and yesterday, Queen Anne High announced that pupils in lower school will have to remain home on certain days because of a shortage of staff.

A letter to parents said that senior pupils need to be prioritised as they try to complete the SQA courses under significant pressure.