With immediate effect, November 11 2021.
As we continue our route through the Scottish Government’s revised Strategic Framework and broader reopening within society, some additional Government restrictions have now been relaxed for school and youth work visits and trips. This will enable Scotland to move to Green readiness level, with immediate effect.
The full updated guidance document is available here.
In summary, there are no changes to the guidance that was previously in place, in particular:
- no limits on numbers at meetings indoors or outdoors
- no requirement for physical distancing
- no restrictions on camping and residential experiences within the UK, subject to Scout ratios
- face coverings must still be worn in indoor locations and on dedicated or public transport, by those aged 12+
- COVID mitigations should now be incorporated within general risk assessments.
The change does mean that international travel is now also permitted. However, organisers should consider carefully whether such trips would be appropriate in light of their local circumstances and wider guidance on international travel, which is available on the FCDO website.
This should include a risk-based assessment of the following:
- The health and other risks associated with current international travel, including any public health advice for the destination country.
- The potential benefits to the health, wellbeing and learning of young people which may be offered by the trip, and would be difficult to achieve through other means (such as travel to a UK destination).
- Specific testing and isolation requirements, both in the UK and for any destination country.
- Whether or not adequate insurance is in place, including financial protection for possible cancellation or other costs.
- The age and number of young people and volunteers involved in the trip, and how this may affect the associated transmission risks and/or implications of someone contracting COVID during the trip.
- Any additional transmission risks associated with specific activities during the trip.
All groups must follow the Scouts Visits Abroad process and ensure that COVID risks are considered in risk assessments and critical incident plans. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that groups will find insurance that includes cancellation due to COVID, including Government advice not to travel, which is a risk that parents and trustees should be aware of from the outset. This is now an exclusion is most travel insurance policies.
As ever, we should continue to act responsibly and pay due attention to:
- good hand hygiene and surface cleaning
- continued promotion of good ventilation
- requirement for face coverings in certain settings (e.g. public transport)
- continued compliance with Test and Protect, including a register of attendance at every meeting.
My thanks for your continued support in keeping members safe and promoting our Scouting recovery.