Nights away and international travel
Nights Away and international travel have not been possible since the COVID 19 pandemic stated. The Scouts have been working with the various governments to establish when residential and international activities can resume in the various jurisdictions.
The Scouts have issued periods in which members may not take part in international travel, allowing for the groups to then make firm plans to cancel, move and reschedule or get refunds for trips which they can’t participate in. This has been reviewed periodically with the time frames extended on a rolling basis.
Following careful consideration of things such as the availability of a vaccine and taking account of changing factors and situations in the UK and in other countries, our current assessment is that the likelihood of international trips occurring during 2021 is extremely unlikely.
Therefore, our approach is to wait until each jurisdiction is at green readiness level remains, unless otherwise stated in the readiness level for your jurisdiction. We encourage groups not to raise hopes by starting or continuing any planning in the coming months whilst travel advice and government restrictions are rapidly changing. If allowed within a jurisdiction members must plan for the various changes which may impact on the trip, be confident of managing the trip safely and have the approval of the County/Area/Region (Scotland)/ Chief Commissioner through the Visits Abroad process.
We will continue to review the situation and should all restrictions ease enough to make international Scouts trips viable and safe a revised date for these restarting will be published. Our next formal scheduled review will be in November 2021.
For the purposes of this guidance where we refer to international travel we refer to those trips which would fall within the definition and requirements of POR Rule 9.64 Visits Abroad.
During 2021 we have seen a gradual return to nights away activities in all jurisdictions. This may start off with small expedition camping for Scouts and Explorer Scouts, then increase to bigger camps, then eventually opening wider nights away opportunities. Check the readiness level table for the allowances and restrictions in your jurisdiction.
Further guidance is available on the planning COVID-safe nights away in 2021 page.
We are sure many of you are thinking about this, either because you are simply wondering what to do later this year or next year with your section/unit, or because you can no longer attend that larger event you or your young people were looking forward to. Before we go any further, we should say, our ability to predict the future is no better than yours nor should you take any of our suggestions as an indication of what future guidance or rules either from Scouts or government will say – we are just trying to help stimulate the right questions and we hope provide some inspiration whilst at the same time, we hope, reducing the risk that all the hard work that goes into planning these sorts of activities doesn’t go to waste.
In these challenging times we would urge you to consider planning activities which can easily be adapted based on any restrictions at the time. Check out the nights away and international travel considerations table to help with your decisions.