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When planning face-to-face activities, leaders need to risk assess their proposals and get the relevant approvals (see separate guidance on Making sure everything’s in place - Guidance for Executive Committees and Commissioners).   

As well as getting approval to restart face-to-face sessions, risk assessments need to be completed for each meeting or activity, as usual. These do not need external approval.  Please note recent changes to risk assessment rules and the move to written risk assessments by January 2021.

Key factors to consider include how to organise sessions effectively, how to select activities that will work and how to adapt activities for social distancing. Ideas for suitable activities for each section will be posted on

Things to consider 

When planning sessions leaders need to consider venue, format, session length, leader availability, facilities, hygiene routines and communications, with specific individuals allocated to monitor distancing, cleaning, arriving and departing.   

Whilst we can start getting back to face to face activities, we still encourage adding some online activities to your programme, as well as a focus on doing things outdoors where the risk of spreading the virus is lower. When adapting activities to follow social distancing guidelines, leaders need to consider group management, hand hygiene, shared equipment, face-to-face working and activity timing. Checklists for all these topics are included in this guidance. Think about adapting everything you do, from the arrival and opening to the closing and departure, everything you do needs to be done in a socially distanced and COVID-secure way.  

For activities requiring permits (such as climbing walls, archery, canoeing and so on) volunteers should comply with the detailed COVID-secure guidelines published by the relevant governing bodies on their websites. 

Checklist for planning sessions 

Checklist for selecting specific activities for a face-to-face programme

Checklist for adapting specific activities for social distancing and hygiene

Trips and Visits

Trips and visits are not permitted in all jurisdictions, check what is permitted in the readiness level table.
When your jurisdiction allow for trips and visits you are still encouraged to stay local, consider what your trip is aiming to achieve and if this can be done more locally.
Remember it’s all of our collective responsibility to try to minimise travel and minimise the risk of infection. We’d encourage Sections to stay as local as they possibly can, if there is no need for them to travel further.
If you are able and wanting to travel for an activity you'll need to consider the logistics of this, check our the where to meet and how to get there guidance relating to travel.


Running adventurous activities as part of your programme including guidance for using activity centres 

With all activities you should not plan to break social distancing requirements in the normal operation of the activity.  In an emergency situation (such as giving first aid or performing a rescue) of course you will need to break the social distancing requirements, consideration should be given on how to keep everyone as safe as possible whilst balancing the need to respond to the situation.  

 This does mean that for some activities you will need to wait until restrictions ease, and for others limit the participation and the way of delivering the session to ensure that social distancing is adhered to.  

  • In planning on how to deliver the activity can the instructor and all participant always comply with the current social distancing requirements  
  • Is the need to rescue a likely occurrence – if yes then you will need to wait until restrictions ease 
  • When planning the activity consider where, under normal circumstances, the instructor would be within 2 metres.  Can this be avoided by changing the process, restricting the age or height of participants, limiting participation to those with previous experience  
  • What will the quality of the activity be for the participant where there might be limitations on ability to coach or progress due to changes in the way you’d deliver the activity.

It’s not possible to provide a definitive list of which activities would be suitable for running under the current conditions since so much depends on the location, the equipment available, the available supervision level and the experience of the participants.  Where activities have a national governing body, their websites are often full of useful ideas for tailoring the activity in the current circumstances. 

Guidance on seasonal events and activities

Advice on running a DofE programme during COVID

Read DofE advice

Advice on managing Scouts as part of the School curriculum

Read more on the School curriculum

Advice on adapting activities

Read the advice on adapting

Nights away and international travel

Read the guidance on nights away and travel

COVID-19 safe programme ideas

Discover the programme ideas