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Covid risk management- DofE Expeditions

This page will be updated on an ongoing basis based on current risk levels, government guidance and planned activities

Our primary control measure for reducing covid-19 risk to clients, instructors and members of the public, is that covid prevalence in communities is low, and participants of an appropriate age to self test will take lateral flow tests before participating and on a regular ongoing basis, so the likelihood of someone attending with covid-19 is low. High rates of vaccinations also reduce the risk to vulnerable family members if someone does become infected and take the virus home to their families.

Masks and hand gel
Participants are expected to carry their own hand gel for use after touching gates, stiles etc, and before and after eating. They are to carry face masks to wear in case of needing to access public toilets or other indoor facilities, and for if they require close contact with our staff (for example, looking at a shared map, or receiving first aid treatment). Masks are not generally required outdoors, and despite being in fairly close contact with team members it is acknowledged that there is an exemption in place for those participating in physical exercise.

 

Bubbles
For expeditions, trips and activities organised directly through a school, participants will be kept within their in-school 'bubbles' wherever possible. For open expeditions, where we may have participants meeting from various parts of the country, the team will form a bubble for the duration of their expedition, as they will be together for a minimum of 5 days and potentially require close contact. Any groups working outside of existing bubbles will be asked to distance wherever possible. 

Testing
Secondary school aged participants should be undertaking regular lateral flow testing, and able to provide evidence of a negative test taken no more than 4 days prior to the expedition (this is reasonable based on twice weekly testing being available to school students and those working in customer facing environments). If tents are to be shared, we may ask for a lateral flow test on the morning of the start of the expedition. We expect participants to continue their usual testing regime during the expedition. Should a participant test positive during the expedition, arrangements will be made for the entire team to return home and isolate. 

Training

Some elements of training will be delivered online via e-learning, which can be accessed at an appropriate pace for the participants. progress through e-learning will be tracked to ensure all participants have answered questions to prove understanding of the training content. Any training that is required for safety purposes will be revisited in face to face delivery. 

 

Tents

Some of our expeditions this year will include camping/ the option to camp. This is currently not a requirement in terms of meeting the DofE criteria, but something we see as having great social and mental health benefits to participants, after a year that has been so isolating for so many. We acknowledge that this is something that increases the risk of transmission; however we feel the benefits outweigh the risks for most participants.

Participants will be asked to minimise the time they spend inside the tents, and sleep 'top and tail' where possible, with ventilation maximised appropriately based on weather conditions (i.e. we will not insist on doors fully open if there is a risk of hypothermia).  For multi night expeditions, participants will use the same tent as the previous night.

For courses where camping will be offered as an option, our consent forms contain a question asking for consent for participants to share tents. This is a yes or no option. If participants/ parents do not agree to tent sharing, we will offer individual tents where we have the capacity to do so and with the agreement of school if it is a school expedition; some local authorities do not allow individual tents in their policies due to safeguarding concerns. If we are not able to offer individual tents, we will request participants who do not wish to share tents to be collected overnight to return home. For our open Gold expeditions where participants may be travelling considerably further, we tend to operate with lower numbers and offer individual tents as a standard option. 

We reserve the right to change the policies on camping in relation to rising risks due to increase in presence of covid-19 in the community local to any participant, revised government guidelines, or school/ local authority guidelines.

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