Medway Open Award Centre is currently following the Government’s guidance, which is taken from the expert advice from of Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor.
As of 16th March 2020, ‘COVID-19: travel guidance for the education sector’ issued by The Department for Education states:
1. Travel for children under 18 organised by educational settings
1.1 Overseas trips for children under 18 organised by
The government advises against any overseas trips for children under 18 organised by educational settings. This is because trip leaders would face significant challenges in making arrangements to ensure children’s welfare, should adult supervisors or children be required to self-isolate.
1.2 Domestic trips for children under 18 organised by
The Department for Education is not currently advising against domestic trips (residential and non-residential) for children under 18 organised by educational settings. However, educational settings should refresh their risk assessments to take into account the latest health advice and ensure measures are in place and agreed with parents in case children or adult supervisors believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 and exhibit symptoms that require self-isolation.
We will also follow the guidance in the following https://www.gov.uk/…/guidance-to-educational-settings-about… and amend our Risk Assessments accordingly.
Therefore, following the clear guidance above, as only trips abroad are advised not to take place, we are continuing to run UK based DofE expedition training, practice and qualifying expeditions currently organised with the schools and organisations we are supporting and, unless Government guidance changes, there is no current reason to cancel any planned DofE expeditions and we will monitor the guidance on a daily basis. We do not intend to go against any Government advice and leave ourselves open to criticism or become liable for civil proceedings due to not following this advice.
Our own ‘Gold’ expedition, planned for the Easter holidays in the Peak District National Park, with fourteen young people booked onto it, will currently go ahead as planned, as well as ‘Other Bronze and Silver Expeditions’ being held during the same period in the Kent & Sussex areas.
All our other training will also continue as planned.
If Government guidance changes which prevent DofE expeditions taking place, as currently planned, then we would look to support schools and young people to rearrange DofE expeditions at a mutually convenient later date. We could even look to extend, with the permission of Licenced Organisation’s and variations to the Expedition conditions, the ‘Expedition season’ allowing expeditions to take place beyond the end of October, with some amendments to locations, routes, Expedition conditions, etc. This all could be achieved, thereby enabling students to successfully complete their Expedition section, even if it is delayed until the first quarter of next year, however, we do all need to be flexible at this uncertain time.