Coronavirus (Covid-19) - updates

The latest guidance from Girlguiding about coronavirus (Covid-19)

Get back to guiding safely.

Page last reviewed: 28 April 2022

The government has removed Covid-19 restrictions, but we can all take steps to stay safe from coronavirus and to run healthy meetings.   

It’s really important that we keep being safe at meetings because Covid-19 is still here, so we’ve put together some guidance for you to follow. Following our guidance means we can carry on guiding and offer a great time to girls and young women.  The guidance on this page will help minimise the spread of infections and help you run healthy, hygienic meetings.  

In the UK, unit meetings, day trips, big events, expeditions, residentials and international trips are all allowed. Training and face-to-face events for adult members are back too. Lots of training can still be done virtually.

If you are meeting as part of a British Girlguiding Overseas group, you'll need to follow the current guidelines and restrictions for your nation. Check the government advice for your country or contact [email protected]

Staying Covid responsible  

Keep being Covid responsible when planning and running your meetings and guiding activities.   

  1. Have an up-to-date risk assessment that includes how you’ll reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection. Check out our guidance for more information on when to do a risk assessment
  2. Wash your hands often and have hand sanitizer available, make sure the venue is cleaned regularly, keep windows and doors open as often as you can and include outdoor activities in your planning. 
  3. You don’t need to wear a face covering anymore, but volunteers and young members might still choose to wear them. Wearing a face covering shouldn’t be mandatory to attend a guiding event. Northern Ireland continues to recommend face masks for indoor activities and social distancing between adults and children. 
  4. You don’t need to do an LFT test to go to a meeting or activity and having a negative Covid test result shouldn’t be mandatory to attend a guiding event. We recommend LFT testing before a residential for volunteers and young members over 11 and this should then be included in your risk assessment and budget, including planning for someone not being able to come because of a positive test. 
  5. People will keep catching the virus so follow local government recommendations around testing and staying at home. Guidance for the four nations can be found here: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland. 

Temporary programme requirements

We’ve reduced the number of Skills Builder activities needed to complete each stage. And girls don’t need as many unit meeting activity hours to achieve their Theme awards. These changes are in place until 31 July 2022. Find out what we've changed. 

If you haven’t returned to face-to-face meetings, follow these steps to have a Covid-safe first meeting:

  1. Chat to your local commissioner and let them know that you're planning to start meeting face-to-face. Your local commissioner is the person who directly supports your unit and, depending on where you live, it will usually be a district or division commissioner. Find out how much time they'll need to sign off your risk assessment, it's likely to be two weeks.  
  2. Fill out your risk assessment, thinking about all of the risks in your meeting, as well as the Covid risks. Make sure that your plans are in line with the Health, Safety and Welfare procedures. Check with your venue in case they have any extra information or guidance. Complete the checklist at the start of the risk assessment. Once you’ve done this, send it to your commissioner to sign off.  
  3. Keep parents and carers updated and check that all the contact information you might need is up to date on GO.
  4. Share your completed risk assessment with all the volunteers helping at your activities. Make sure that you have enough adults to support your activity. Meeting place ratios are advisory, not mandatory, (except for Rainbows), but you should think about how you can run your meeting if a volunteer’s unwell. 

Sharing information with people who may have had contact with someone who's tested positive or is experiencing symptoms

From a data protection point of view, volunteers and parents in the persons regular unit can be informed there has been a positive test, but don’t need to know who. We recommend that they look out for symptoms and follow the public health advice where they live. 

Insurance and Covid-19

 Girlguiding’s public liability insurance covers anyone attending a Girlguiding meeting, event or activity against claims of injury, harm or damage unless they have acted deliberately negligently. 

This means that you won't be held personally liable for any accident, or an illness contracted as long as you’ve taken all due care, completed a Covid responsible risk assessment and followed our policies, procedures and guidance. 

You might want to keep the option of meeting virtually, even after you go back to meeting face-to-face, and include both virtual and in-person meetings in your planning.

For you, hybrid meetings could mean that people can join the face-to-face unit meetings via a video call, that every other week is a virtual meeting, or that you always have the option to meet virtually, for example if there’s a Covid-19 outbreak in your local area. You can decide what works best for you and your unit.  Check out our support for virtual guiding, adapting the programme and hints and tips for running your first virtual meeting. 

Send a virtual guiding new starter form and virtual meeting consent form to parents and carers before meeting online. They need to be completed before you share any log-in details for your meetings. 

All the things you do in your unit to keep girls safe still apply when we go online. So, make sure you check all our virtual safeguarding information: 

We always need to make sure that unit meetings are safe, whether they’re in person or online. So at least one leader, assistant leader or leader-in-training who has completed their Level 3 A Safe Space training must be in your virtual unit meetings. 

Cancelling a trip

If you can get any money back or can claim on your events insurance, pass the refund on to parents and carers. If you can’t recover any money, and parents or carers have already paid for the trip, then clearly explain what’s happened and why you can’t give refunds. 

Although lockdown has now lifted, there’s still a chance that events will need to be cancelled because of Covid-19 cases or needing to isolate. Make sure this is explained to parents and carers before they book onto any trips. 

Travel insurance cover

You need to find the best cover to suit your trip. Covid-19 cover varies, so try to get the most thorough cover you can find. Make sure this is included in your risk assessment and explain the insurance cover to everyone attending the trip or their parents and carers. You can find more help with this on our insurance page.

International trips 

Before you travel check the advice for your nation and the country you’re travelling to. Find our more about planning an international trip.

The management committee of a property has a legal responsibility under health and safety law to make sure the property is safe for users. The committee will decide when to open or reopen a building owned or managed by Girlguiding and we recommended that it doesn’t reopen before they’ve completed a risk assessment. 

To help committees with this process, they can use our checklist and risk assessment template. We've based this on government guidance and information from ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England), but it should apply to all locations and types of property.  Download the property checklist and risk assessment template (Word) . 

Committees shouldn’t rush re-opening a venue. Instead, they should take the time to complete the risk assessment and be confident it’s safe. 

It's important that committees go through the risk assessment and checklist adapt it to their property. The committee are responsible for their risk assessment and don’t need to have it signed off by anyone else.   

The property committee can help users and hirers feel confident about being in the space by letting them know what they’re doing to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus. This might include extra cleaning and increased ventilation. 

Working with anyone who hires the property is key to making sure the property is safe to use, and everyone understands the expectations as well as their own responsibilities.  

If you have any questions about returning to guiding, email [email protected]