We are currently at the Amber readiness level
Last updated: 17th September 2020
1st Finchampstead Scout Group is keeping a close watch on the Covid situation. The Group is following the Government’s guidance, plus specific restart requirements from The Scout Association (TSA) and the National Youth Agency (NYA). TSA and NYA have implemented a readiness rating that defines what activities may take place at each level. There’s much more detail available at https://www.scouts.org.uk/volunteers/scouts-at-home/getting-everyone-back-together-safely/, but in essence it is:
Blended model of digital plus small group sessions (indoors and outdoors)
Blended model of digital plus small group sessions (indoors and outdoors). Camping allowed within your home country (i.e. England).
All activities can resume in line with government guidance. We would expect digital meetings to cease.
The Scout Association’s guidance
TSA’s guidance is based on the following principles:
- Keep young people and adult volunteers safe.
- Actively consider inclusion and accessibility for all in our decisions to resume.
- Returning to face-to-face Scout meetings and activities is voluntary and needs to be with consent of volunteers, parents and young people.
- Our approach will be solutions-focussed and in line with government guidance and health and safety legislation.
What about the rule of six?
Despite the recent change to social gathering restrictions in England (9th September), the government has confirmed that Scouting is classed as an essential service, so face-to-face meetings can resume where groups follow Scouts restart requirements.
The Covid Code
In order to get back together safely, TSA has created the Covid Code for sections to follow. This requires:
- A COVID-safe risk assessment has been completed and we have communicated control measures to volunteers, young people and parents. All are encouraged to raise concerns.
- Additional hygiene measures are in place.
- Social Distancing will be observed where possible.
- Maximum group sizes will be limited and determined by TSA.
- Make adjustments for young people and adults vulnerable or affected by COVID, and consult to make sure return plans are accessible and inclusive.
The Group is developing a Covid policy that will cover our adherence to the Covid Code, responsibilities and expectations, and will share this as quickly as we can. Comments and queries are welcomed.
What is currently permitted?
With current guidance, at the Amber rating our permitted activities are as follows:
- Indoor activities are now allowed, but outdoor activities are preferred and should be encouraged.
- A maximum of 15 young people and up to 5 leaders/young leaders can meet in a group. Carers can be in addition and will not be counted in these numbers.
- We can have more than 1 group of 15 young people at a meeting, and adults can move between these groups. The groups have to be at least 25m apart.
- Leaders don’t need to wear a face covering when delivering activities – however, it’s recommended to wear one in all other circumstances while indoors.
- Scouts and Explorers must now wear face coverings indoors. Exceptions as per national guidelines are permitted.
All young people in all sections must continue to social distance by 2m from each other where possible and from adult volunteers at all times.
What does this mean for our Group?
We are only currently planning outdoor meetings.
We’re working through how we can use safely use Finchbase again for indoor meetings; given that the usable space is 12m x 8m in the main hall, that’s quite difficult, but we may be able to make limited use of the building for toilets and emergencies.
For a return to face-to-face Scouting, each section of Beavers, Cubs & Scouts has to submit a risk assessment that follows the Covid Code, and has to have that approved by the Group Executive and the District.
- Currently, we have received risk assessments for face-to-face Scouting from Goldfinch Scouts and Leopards Cubs.
- Greenfinch Scouts and Badgers Cubs are currently proceeding with online-only meetings. Actually, Greenfinch has just sent out an event invite to gauge and record interest in resuming, so please reply to that when you can.
- The situation for Beavers is not yet determined – we’ll be holding an all-Beaver leader meeting ASAP to figure out what leaders would like to propose.
Some sections may choose to run split meetings, with an A group and B group, alternating each week.
As mentioned above, a return to face-to-face meetings is voluntary for each section, and dependent on the consent of those involved. I know several sections have already communicated their intentions, and are polling parents and carers to see if they are comfortable having their children attending meetings. Everyone’s personal circumstances are different.
Consent depends on trust, and it’s for that reason that our risk assessment approval and Group Covid policy are really important, because we are (as you can imagine) giving this lots of thought.
What happens when the Covid readiness rating changes?
The situation is fluid. Cases are rising, but not sharply around Wokingham. We may only have a limited window before we are unable to run face-to-face meetings again.
In the time we have, and although off to a slow start, we hope to make the best of it.
Please contact the Group Scout Leader or Assistant Group Scout Leader if you any queries or concerns – https://1finch.org.uk/contact/.
Scout Association – Coronavirus
Scout Association – Getting Everyone Back Together Safely
This is targeted at adult volunteers, but includes the guidance and latest readiness update.
Berkshire Scouts – Steps towards a safe return
National Youth Association COVID-19 guidance