Following on from the Government’s announcement on Monday, the National Youth Agency and The Scouts UK have published their next steps for Scouting in England.

From Monday 17th May, Scouting in England will move to a Yellow Readiness Level. But the message is very different to that published by the Government on Monday.

At Yellow Readiness Level, there is no real change from our standard day to day operations as a group. As in Amber, we will still have a requirement to social distance and, where appropriate, wear masks/face coverings. Day trips are permitted, but must be timed/controlled to prevent participants from falling asleep if they’re in shared transport.

The biggest change is surrounding camping and residential experiences, which will be allowed but under strict controls. The maximum group size allowed is 6 which must include young people, volunteers (leaders), and carers. Multiple Groups of 6 will be allowed but they must remain independent of each other and cannot interact. The final part of this is surrounding testing whereby Lateral Flow Testing is required prior to departure and every 48 – 72 hours throughout the trip.

This is a welcome step in the right direction as, whilst extremely difficult and impossible for some sections to benefit, it does make a move closer to normality.

To clarify some justifications from the NYA, who have been guided by the Government, the priority is to protect schools from outbreak.

  • Our group has representatives from many Schools and many age groups
    • if we were to take a group of 20 young people plus leaders away, and one participant is carrying Covid or asymptomatic, they could spread that to all 20 young people and leaders
    • those 20 young people then take that into school, receive a positive test and their school bubbles collapse.
  • Studies have also been carried out with regards to breathing patterns and droplet count between those awake and those asleep
    • this highlighted that, when asleep, a person will breathe deeper and expire more droplets, increasing the distance that droplets may travel.

Finally, NYA are not confident that 21st June date will not be pushed back, they want to be cautious by releasing just a small amount now, in the hope that we can release a larger bulk in line with the 21st June Roadmap step, allowing us to enjoy a better summer.

Currently, we’re seeking clarification from District as to whether there is a requirement to adjust our risk assessments to move the sections to Yellow – this is due to there being no changes to day to day operations, and Residential Experiences requiring District Level Approval anyway. We’ll update in due course, however moving to Yellow does look like an ‘in name only’ shift at this time.

We’ll keep you posted!