Student Activity: Covid Safety

Student Activity: Covid Safety

If you run or take part in Student Activity on campus, please keep a close eye on our safety advise

Posted 5th October 2020 at 3:47pm
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Societies, Sports Clubs, Volunteering Groups and Networks are integral aspects of student life at Medway. In order to keep all our members safe, we have collated guidance for GKSU student groups and recommend student committees and members keep up to date on these as they change. 

Information has been interpreted from the UK’s government website here:

Information was correct at the time of issue (28th September 2020) and if there are changes/further updates this will be communicated to student groups.

Before any student group activity is permitted to take place, GKSU must have received a risk assessment from the committee. In addition, all committee members must have completed GKSU online Risk Assessment Training module. Failure to adhere to the below guidelines may result in disciplinary action.

In Person Activity

On 22nd September the government announced new measures to suppress the virus. The limits on the number of people you can see socially have changed. When meeting friends and family you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) you must not meet in a group of more than 6, indoors or outdoors. This is against the law and the police will have the powers to enforce these legal limits, including to issue fines of £200, doubling for further breaches up to a maximum of £6,400.

In the case of serious or deliberate breaches of Covid-19 regulations, GKSU and the University can also take action in line with their Student Disciplinary Procedures. Please note that any fines incurred by any student group will need to be paid for personally; money cannot be claimed back from GKSU.

There are however a number of exemptions where groups can be larger than 6 which are relevant to GKSU student groups which include:

· For work, or the provision of voluntary or charitable services

· Gatherings for educational purposes where reasonably necessary

· Exercise classes, organised outdoor sport or licensed outdoor physical activity

GKSU, under the management of our partner, Kent Union,  is a registered charity with the following charitable purpose ‘The advancement of education of students at the University of Kent and University of Greenwich (Medway campus) for the public benefit by; promoting their interests and welfare and representing, supporting and advising students: representing student's interests to the University; and providing social, cultural, sporting and recreational activities and forums for discussions and debate for the personal development of students’.

As a result, GKSU student groups are permitted to conduct their activity as follows:

  • Student group activity is limited to 30 people and should be conducted on campus unless physically not possible to do so.
  • Student groups will be permitted to book rooms on campus, however due to social distancing room capacity will be significantly affected. You may wish to re-think your activities (i.e could they be delivered in two adjacent rooms?).
  • The revised room capacity will be clearly communicated in each room and for the safety of members must be adhered to. This will override the 30-person limit guidance. Please note that the 30-person limit must not be exceeded, regardless of whether you are able to get a room with a larger capacity.
  • For groups who undertake physical activity/performance based activities there is a revised room capacity based on a 3m by 3m per person ruling; this is due to limiting the space for infectious aerosol transmission.
  • Doors and windows must be opened to encourage good ventilation.
  • The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have advised that non-professionals can engage in singing, wind and brass instruments, however recommends that activity should ideally take place outside. If this is not possible then the below mitigations must be put in place:
    • There is no interaction between groups of more than 6 at any time
    • Ensure 2m distance wherever possible
    • Consider whether facemasks can be worn
    • Avoid facing each other when singing
    • Improve ventilation as far as possible

 

  • With regards to dance based activities the following mitigations must be in place:
    • Participants maintain social distancing
    • Participants do not interact or mingle in individual groups of more than 6 (per bubble) and groups remain fixed.
    • Close contact dances are not permitted
    • Activity takes place in spaces based on the 3m x 3m ruling

 

  • Key government public health messages must be adhered to by all members including:
    • Members should be told not to attend any activity if they are feeling unwell
    • Cover the mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (not hands) when coughing or sneezing
    • Put used tissues straight in the bin
    • Wash hand regularly with soap and water for at least 30 seconds or use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
    • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
    • Do not touch face, eyes, nose or mouth if hands are not clean
  • Sports are permitted, however activity must be in line with National Governing Body (NGB) advice; Details can be found here. Where NGB advice isn’t available GKSU will determine what mitigating actions are required.
  • BUCS, The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP) and Sport England have agreed that sport in Higher Education is exempt from the ‘Rule of 6’. The following is the latest guidance.
    • Over-18s are only covered by the exemption for sport for educational purposes but this does include intra-mural, training and inter-university competitions.
    • This includes anything related to the curriculum/sport-related degree programmes.
    • Playing for school/college/university teams is covered by the exemption both at an intra-mural and inter-university level.
    • The exemption does not apply to all activity that happens to take place on the university site. i.e. playing for a university team is exempt, but another football club/league that happens to use the university facilities or is loosely associated would not fall under the exemption. It could still go ahead, but the rule of 6 would apply as with other indoor team sport.
    • Over-18s and under-18s (who are students at the university) can play together without restrictions only where this falls under the education exemption (as set out above). If not, the under-18s are exempt, but if an over-18 joins, the rule of six applies to everyone.
    • Whilst inter-university competition is covered by the exemption, consideration should be given as to how best to minimise exposure by avoiding unnecessary travel and mixing with teams from other institutions.

We have also requested that all student groups submit a comprehensive risk assessment that is signed off by a GKSU staff member and complete an online Risk Assessment training module.

 

Socials

  • A social is any social activity/meet up that falls outside of the aims and objectives of your group (i.e is not core activity).
  • You may only socialise in groups with a maximum of 6 people (indoors or outdoors).
  • Groups are therefore not permitted to host parties, socials or gatherings either privately or in premises on or off campus outside of the above guideline. Please note that this extends to welcome/initiation events.
  • The police will have the powers to enforce these legal limits, including to issue fines of £200, doubling for further breaches up to a maximum of £6,400.
  • In the case of serious or deliberate breaches of Covid-19 regulations, GKSU and the University can also take action in line with their Student Disciplinary Procedure. Please note that any fines incurred by any student group will need to be paid for personally; money cannot be claimed back from GKSU
  • GKSU appreciates that some groups by their nature are very social and that is a key part of their activity, therefore we encourage groups to check with us before organising any activity.

Social Distancing

  • When with people you do not live with, you should also avoid: physical contact; being close and face -to-face; and shouting or singing close to them. You should also avoid crowded areas with lots of people; and touching things that other people have touched.
    •  Where you cannot stay 2 metres apart you should stay more than 1 metre apart, as well as taking extra steps to stay safe. For example:
    • Wear a face covering: on public transport and in many indoor spaces, you must wear a face covering by law, unless you are exempt
    • Move outdoors, where it is safer and there is more space
    • If indoors, make sure rooms are well ventilated by keeping windows and doors open

Face Coverings

  • All members should wear face coverings when moving around campus buildings or in enclosed spaces (e.g seminar rooms). It is recognised that there are circumstances where face coverings are not possible for some individuals so please be respectful.

Equipment

  • Where possible equipment should not be shared; if essential then strong hygiene practices should be in place before and after use (e.g hand washing/hand sanitizer, wipes etc).

Travel

  • Student groups will be encouraged to not share a vehicle with those outside of their household or support bubble; if absolutely essential then students will need to:
    • Share transport with the same people each time
    • Keep to small groups of people at any one time
    • Open windows for ventilation
    • Travel side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them
    • Face away from each other
    • Consider seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle
    • Clean vehicles in between journeys
    • All passengers (including the driver) should wear a face covering.

Trips

  • Trips will be permitted but must take into account all the above mitigations and government guidance; as a result, they will be limited to groups with a maximum of 6 people.
  • You are permitted to stay overnight elsewhere; however, from 14 September there is a new legal limit on the gathering sizes. This will mean that you may only stay overnight in someone else’s home if you do not form a group of more than 6 people. This limit does not apply if you are in a support bubble with the person whose home you are staying in.
  • Please discuss any trip with GKSU as early as possible so we can support you with its safe delivery.

Track and Trace

  • It is important that all groups complete a track and trace form for all activities that you deliver, should there be a case of Covid-19 it is vital that people can be notified and told to isolate or get tested. Please do this at the start of every session to look after and protect your members.
  • GKSU have an online form you can use here

What to do if someone has COVID-19 symptoms?

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
  • Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.

If these symptoms are displayed, then you should visit the below for guidance:

GKSU Covid updates can be found here: www.gksu.co.uk/covid

If you have ANY questions about the activities you plan to deliver or attend then please e-mail [email protected].

Stay safe!