Coronavirus (COVID-19) – What are the implications of learning outside the classroom?

Any learning outside the classroom must be carried out within the context of current government guidance, which changes frequently so be sure to check for the latest information.

Ensure careful consideration of your school’s individual circumstances and ensure the safety of the staff and pupils as your top priority.

The following guidance for learning outside the classroom are all specific to the current situation regarding COVID-19.

*All information is correct at the time of publication.

Government Guidance

Current government guidance must be followed and should therefore be monitored for any changes on a regular basis to ensure compliance.

For specific guidance for educational settings please read:

What is Possible Now?

The Government is advising against both overseas and domestic visits, but all is not lost…

The educational and health benefits for learning outside the classroom are evident and if it is possible to use your outdoor areas, such as a designated Local Learning Area or your school playfield then some circumstances may benefit from this change of scenery.

For the staff and pupils still attending school, it may be possible to participate in some outdoor activities (within current limitations) and if this is the case, we’d recommend doing so…

Planning and Managing Local Activities

You should also be familiar with other national guidance documents relevant to your role, as the normal principles of good practice still apply. It is particularly important to follow government guidance about social distancing and hygiene, whether indoors or outdoors, on-site or off-site.

Many children continuing to attend school will have parents who are key workers so abiding by government guidance is extremely important:

  • There is a risk that children could pick up the virus when at school and bring it home.
  • Some of these parents are in high-risk jobs (e.g. NHS or care staff), so their children are more likely to contract the virus at home than other children are, and there is then a risk to the wider community.
The same attention should be given to hygiene when outdoors as when indoors. For example, regularly washing and sanitising hands when:

  • Going outside
  • Before and after touching shared objects such as activity equipment
  • Before eating
  • After using the toilet
  • When returning inside
Other guidance on maintaining good hygiene:

  • Avoid touching objects shared by the public, for example, a member of staff could hold a gate open to avoid everyone touching it.
  • Do not carry out activities which involve touching each other, for example, holding hands
  • Sanitising equipment before it is used

It is important to keep parents informed about your plans and the precautions you are taking, both indoors and outdoors. Some schools will be working with staff and children who normally attend other schools, where policies, procedures and expectations are different and so it may be necessary to establish a common understanding with staff, parents and children.

Specific LOtC resources can be found on their website.

Norberto Fusi

Norberto Fusi

Norberto is the Educational Visits Adviser for Juniper Education. He has worked in secondary schools for 11 years and managed a residential Education Centre for Essex County Council for 20 years. Over the past 11 years, Norberto has been a member of the Outdoor Education Adviser Panel (OEAP), an assessor for the LOtC Quality Badge, and associate adviser for EVOLVEAdvice.