What is this?
- This Action Card relates to the measures those responsible for organised activities for children, must take by law, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
- This covers activities attended by children and young people. Examples could include attendance at sports clubs, drama classes, parent and toddler groups, youth work and general youth groups and religious groups.
- Those responsible for these services are required to take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of people being exposed to coronavirus, and spreading the virus.
- As a basis for deciding what measures should be taken, they must also carry out a specific assessment of the risk posed by the coronavirus.
- The Action Card highlights risks generally associated with these venues and considers what reasonable measures could to be taken to mitigate those risks.
- This is not an exhaustive list and other reasonable measures not referred to below may be appropriate.
- If you have questions or concerns please seek advice from your local authority’s environmental health department as soon as possible. Please be aware and respectful of the fact that their role is to ensure that appropriate reasonable measures are taken so that your venue can operate as safely as possible. However, it is not their role to approve your risk assessment.
Specific risks in these settings
As with all premises where people from different households come together, there are risks of spreading coronavirus associated with organised activities for children. While the risks for settings will depend on the activities being undertaken at the venue and the number of people present, the following risks will be typical:
- close physical interaction, including queuing in close proximity to others before entry and while at the venue, for example and while inside, for example at the reception area, lifts, toilets, cloakrooms etc.;
- increased likelihood of mixing and face to face interaction, particularly where parents remain on site;
- raising of voices over loud music increasing risk of aerosol transmission;
- potential for poor ventilation, which is particularly problematic where people spend prolonged periods together indoors.
What reasonable measures should I consider taking to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus?
While it is unlikely to be possible to mitigate the risks completely in settings of this nature, some measures are reasonable to take, so must be taken.
You should consider whether the following measures are reasonable to take. The measures you take should be informed by your assessment of the risk of coronavirus spreading from use of your vehicles or premises and tailored to your specific circumstances. The Welsh Government has produced a standard template for coronavirus risk assessments, and there is further information available to support you provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Reduce the chance of coronavirus being present
- Encourage staff /volunteers to receive both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Encourage regular staff/volunteer testing (where feasible).
- If a member of staff, volunteer parent, visitor or a child becomes unwell or symptomatic while attending the setting they should leave the setting immediately and follow the advice on Test, Trace, Protect, including self-isolating and arranging a test.
- Staff, parents and visitors who are symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19 must not attend the setting and must strictly follow the self-isolation guidance.
- It is no longer recommended that children under 5 with COVID-19 symptoms undertake a test unless directed to do so by a doctor or if parents believe a test is absolutely necessary and in the best interests of the child. Symptomatic children under 5 should remain at home until they are well enough to attend the setting.
- Where one member of a household has COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive, others in that household who are fully vaccinated or aged 5 to 17 should self-isolate and take a PCR test. If the test is negative, isolation can end. Household contacts who are not fully vaccinated should self-isolate for 10 days. A PCR test should be taken on day 2 and day 8. The individual should self-isolate for 10 days even if the test results are negative. Children aged under 5 do not have to self-isolate or take a test if they have been a contact of a positive case in their household or otherwise.
- There may be circumstances where a child or adult who would normally be exempt is directed to self-isolate by TTP. These circumstances will be identified by TTP on a case by case basis. Childminders may be asked not to provide childminding services if they operate from their home in which a positive case is self-isolating.
- Limiting numbers or controlling movement of people so that where possible people can safely distance themselves from others. For example use one way systems to enter or walk around the premises and control the movement of people coming together in confined areas such as toilets.
- Maintain social distancing between adults and children over 11 both during and outside of sessions. While it is generally accepted very young children are not good at distancing, staff, other adults and older children should still try to distance from one another.
- Controlling entry and exit points to prevent people coming together.
Limit your capacity
- Reducing numbers. In determining the capacity of the activity, the number of people who may attend at any one time, remember that lowering numbers will reduce the extent to which close physical interaction will occur, in particular by reducing the potential for crowding.
- Spreading people evenly across the venue so that they don’t gather in disproportionate numbers in one room or space.
Improve your ventilation or go outside
- Encouraging use of outdoor space where this is available.
- Enhancing airflow by opening windows and propping open internal doors (but not fire doors) where possible and where safe to do so. As children will be in attendance at these premises there will be some premises where opening windows or doors may increase the risk of children injuring themselves or leaving the premises unsupervised, so this should form a part of any risk assessment.
- If there is a lack of natural ventilation, ensuring mechanical ventilation systems provide 100% fresh air and do not recirculate air from one space to another.
- Make sure mechanical ventilation systems are effectively maintained and have been serviced.
- Monitoring CO2 levels to identify areas where ventilation may be poor.
Keep your premises clean
- Thorough and regular cleaning using disinfectant in high footfall areas and in high contact touchpoints such as counter tops, tables and door handles.
- Placing hand sanitisers in multiple locations, particularly at entry points and elsewhere at key touchpoints, and providing automated soap dispensers, water and paper towels in washrooms.
- Regular hand washing for children and staff; provision of hand sanitiser.
- Regular and effective cleaning regimes as outlined in Cleaning, hygiene and handwashing to reduce coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission (hse.gov.uk)
- Prevent the sharing of food, drink, utensils, and where possible equipment and toys.
Keep the noise down
- Lowering the volume of any music played to reduce the need for people to shout or bring their faces close together to talk.
Look after your staff
- Implementing systems to minimise contacts between staff. For example, stagger staff shifts, break times and deliveries; set a maximum number for kitchens, staff rooms, changing rooms and areas such as smoking shelters.
- Providing staff with face coverings or other PPE.
- Facilitating (and not preventing) members of staff that have symptoms, test positive or who have been identified as a close contact by Test Trace Protect (and are not exempt by way of age or vaccine status) to self-isolate. Self-isolating when a person has tested positive is required by law.
Remember face coverings
- Helping to ensure that people present comply with their legal obligation to wear a face covering.
- There remains the requirement for wearing a facemask for people aged 11 and over in indoor public places. If the activity is taking place in a setting that is not open to the public there is no legal requirement to wear a face covering, but you should consider if requiring face coverings would be a reasonable measure.
Help Test, Trace, Protect
You have a legal obligation to provide information to those entering or working at your premises about how to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus. This includes, in particular, information to all those present about their risk of exposure to coronavirus identified in the risk assessment and the measures to be taken at the premises to minimise this risk.
This could include announcements, clear signage (e.g. signs, floor tape or paint) for limits on the number people present in a particular area or vehicle, queuing systems and one way systems.