Thank you for all the work you are doing to support the return to scouting in Suffolk. This is a critical time to engage is communication with parents and young people in order to encourage their enthusiasm to return to a form of scouting this initially will look quite different from the way we were scouting at the beginning of the year.
Don’t forget you can follow our news and ideas at https://www.suffolkscouts.org.uk/coronovirus. All content we post will be based on UK Government and The Scout Association guidelines.
Keeping Everyone Safe
Whilst you may find that the task of consultation with parents and other leaders tiresome, the aim of this exercise and the resultant risk assessment is to keep everyone safe. We want to maximise safety for all of our young people and our leaders. Please feel free to contact your district for support if you need some help with the process. There are guidelines and FAQs on both the Suffolk Scouts website here, and from headquarters here.
Potential Amendments to Guidance for Amber State of Readiness
Like other organisations, Scouting is responding to the ever-evolving Covid-19 controls imposed by the UK Government. Headquarters are working on a number of changes that may be allowed within the Amber state of readiness. You can read more about the potential changes on the Scout website here.
Please remember these are currently only plans at present and not yet confirmed as definitive advice.
Parents and carers need to have as much information as possible in order to make an informed choice about the return to face to face scouting.
- What might it look like?
- Will they be able to bring their child/young person into the hall or to the outdoor meeting place?
- Can they all turn up at early and hang around either at drop off or collection?
- What if someone turns up and has Covid-19 symptoms - what does this mean for the section and self-isolating? Has the Group/Section got a process in place for if this happens?
- What support is available to them to help them with the decision e.g. can they call up the section leader?
Some questions you might like to consider during your consultation with parents
- Is/was your child/young person shielding due to Covid-19? Medical advice may be to continue to shield in some cases so it may not be prudent to return to face to face scouting until a later date.
- Are/were you or anyone else living with you shielding due to Covid-19?
- What support would your child/young person need to return to face to face scouting?
- What support would you need to help your child/young person return to face to face scouting?
- What would prevent you from bringing or sending your child/young person to scouting (What are you worried about)?
- Does your child/young person understand social distancing?
- Would your child/young person be able to cope if leaders used masks and other PPE (personal protective equipment e.g. gloves, aprons)?
If you have children/young people or parents/carers with additional needs and/or disabilities, here are some other points you might like to consider:
- What impact might a change of venue have on the children and young people in your group? Do some of them cope with change better than others? if so, do you know how best to support those who are unable to cope with change? For example, for children/young people with Autism or other additional needs and/or disabilities have you considered taking photos of where the meeting will be held and sending it to them a week in advance with a description and details of the activities that are planned? Do you need to do a video to explain the changes? Do you need to work with the parents and carers to create a social story to explain the changes?
- What do you propose to do if children/young people are unable to socially distance? Does this mean you will say they cannot attend? What if their additional need and/or disability means they cannot understand social distancing? Do some of your children/young people need a social story to help them understand social distancing? E.g. http://www.beaucroft.dorset.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/praise-ss-social-distancing.pdf
- Will anyone need to wear PPE? If so, do all of your children/young people understand PPE? Might some of them need a social story to help them understand PPE? E.g. http://www.beaucroft.dorset.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/story-about-PPE.pdf
- As you will be encouraging lots of hand washing do all of your children/young people understand why they need to do this? Do some of them need a social story to help them? E.g. http://www.beaucroft.dorset.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/praise-ss-washing-hands.pdf
- If you have children/young people who are shielding or vulnerable or have family members in their household who are, will you need to ask everyone to wear masks during meetings if they are over 11? How will you prepare your section for this?
- Do you have any children/young people who need personal care e.g. have toileting support needs? Does this mean you will need to wear PPE for this and, if so, how will you prepare them for this? Will you need to ask parents and carers to support with this?
- Do you have children/young people with emotional wellbeing or mental health issues in your section e.g. anxiety? Has this been impacted by the pandemic? How will you support them? A useful Suffolk resource booklet can be found here https://search3.openobjects.com/mediamanager/suffolk/enterprise/files/2020-04-29_mental_health_resources_v8.pdf
- If you have children/young people who are unable to return to face to face scouting at this time how are you going to keep them included in the Programme? Have you considered video calling them during meetings? Will you be offering a blended offer of face to face and online activities to include everyone?
- Do you have children/young people or parents and carers who have English as an additional language? Or who have additional needs and/or disabilities? or who have literacy challenges? How are you ensuring the information or surveys you are sending out are accessible to them? This link takes you to a directory of resources in other languages https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/about/web-accessibility/interpreting-and-translating-services/covid-19-information-in-other-languages/ The Suffolk Ordinary Lives website has resources for people with a Learning Disability or Autism https://suffolkordinarylives.co.uk/information_category/covid-19/ The main Suffolk Covid-19 page can be found here https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/
If you know of any amazing feats form volunteers or young people during this Covid-19 pandemic please drop me a line telling me what they have done I’d love to hear and share.
County Commissioner – Suffolk