Student Groups & COVID-19

Latest Update: 18th September 2020 

Below we have provided some useful information for committee members during COVID-19. This page will be regularly updated in line with Government advice and guidelines. 

The Students’ Union prioritises your safety and the safety of your members. As a charity, we work in partnership with the University and together we must follow the guidance and laws set by the government.  The Students’ Union team are working hard to keep your activities running during the pandemic. They are important to us and we want your clubs and societies to succeed this year.  

  • Following updates on COVID-19 Government guidelines, from Monday 14 September, you must not meet with people from other households socially in groups of more than 6. This will apply indoors, including in private homes. Outside groups of up to 30 can meet socially-distanced.
  • The Government guidelines also state that groups of up to 6 must not mix or form larger groups (for example, you cannot have several groups of 6 that are social distancing from each other). 
  • Any activity or event that has been organised to take place off-campus and in the public domain must not exceed 6 people. 
  • If you have booked an external venue, you must follow their specific guidelines. 
  • If you are planning an event that is outdoors in the community we suggest that you cancel or re-think any such event to be run online. 
  • As outlined by the Government, there are a few exemptions to this as below; 
    • Educational settings: if you book a room on campus to hold an activity or a meeting, you can do so in a group larger than 6, adhering to the room’s maximum capacity outlined by the university. See the new room booking section below. 
    • Organised team sports: these can take place in groups of more than 6 people, following the guidance of your National Governing Body and applying COVID-19 secure practices. 
  • You should have received your first training session from your campus Student Engagement Assistant, if not please contact them.
  • Additional training modules will be released throughout the year.
  • One of the next sessions will be on risk assessments. Each Club and Society will need to undertake an overall risk assessment and additional risk assessments for all planned activities (with a particular focus on COVID-19). 
  • What is a hazard? A hazard is something that has the potential to cause harm. 
  • What is a risk? A risk is the likelihood of harm occurring from the hazard. 

All activities ran by student groups have risks. This guide is here to help you start assessing factors relating to your activity that could cause harm to someone. It is not a means of shirking your responsibility as a committee member when it comes to the health and safety of your participants. Health and Safety law is some of the most stringent; in standing for a committee position, you have assumed responsibility for the Health and Safety of all of your participants taking part in activities. This cannot be taken lightly; you must be vigilant and make sure all participants are aware of the health and safety implications before partaking in your activity, and what they need to do in order to avoid the risk of harm. 

Legal liability needs to prove: 

  • A lack of duty of care (as above) 
  • Negligence (stopped by careful and sensible risk assessments) 

Despite all your best planning accidents still happen. We want you to maximise the fun you have in an event whilst being safe. Knowing how to respond to these situations is important. The reporting of any near misses is also important as it helps others to plan and prepare to avoid any possible dangers in the future. 

  • Notification of an incident or near-miss should be made using the Incident Report Form. At any event, you should have an incident report form with you - including in your first aid kit.
  • The findings from these reports will be used to place more appropriate precautions in an activity, to prevent harm occurring again. These are also recorded in the risk assessment review. 

Officers: Make sure procedures exist
Committee: Follow procedures
Group Leaders: Do what procedure says
Members/Students: Behave responsibly. 

How To Risk Assess 

A template for completing a risk assessment for your club or society is available from your Student Engagement Assistant. 

Step 1: Look for the hazards. 

  • Break your event down into individual activities. Look for what could cause harm and what could go wrong.  
  • This will mostly be accidents or (potential) injuries, but you should also consider whether there are any reputational or financial risks. For example, broken equipment is a financial risk.  

Step 2: Decide who or what might be harmed and how. 

  • Don’t forget new members/volunteers, members of the public, people with disabilities, vulnerable people etc. Describe how the injury could happen and the type of injury that could occur. 
  • If you’re not sure how particular risks impact on particular members of your club or society. They will be able to tell you what can be done to ensure their safety.  

Step 3: Evaluate the risks and decide whether the existing precautions are adequate or whether more should be done. 

  • Consider how likely it is that each hazard might cause harm. Decide whether the risk is very likely to happen, not likely to happen or if it is possible. 
  • Consider the consequences of the hazard. How severe are its implications if it does occur? 
  • Identify further control measures and steps to take to reduce the risk of the hazard happening if it is appropriate. 
  • Also identify what action you will take if the hazard does occur? 

Step 4: Record your findings. 

  • Record your findings on the Risk Assessment sheet (Available on the SU Website LINK). Share your results with members of your group so that they too become aware of the risks involved with your activity. 
  • You should keep a copy of this sheet with you whilst the activity takes place and should refer to it when setting up for your activity.  

Step 5: Review your assessment and revise it if necessary. 

  • Reviewing risk assessments on a regular basis helps to ensure that a consistently high standard of safe practice is followed. There will be occasions where they need revising, in particular, due to a change in circumstance. 
  • Incident report forms are very important for completion and are used for review, as they identify how an injury occurred so that reasonable and practical measures can be investigated to prevent the injury from occurring again. 
  • You should be able to show that s proper check was made, you asked who might be affected, you dealt with the obvious significant hazards, taking into account who could be involved and the precautions are reasonable, practicable and the remaining risk is low. 
  • A template for completing a risk assessment for your club or society is available from your Student Engagement Assistant. 
  • Please confirm with your Student Engagement Assistant that your annual risk assessment has been completed before undertaking activities.
  • Complete an additional risk assessment for each event / activity you hold and make sure this is shared with your Student Engagement Assistant at least 1 week ahead of your event. 
  • All activities must be carried out at a 2m social distance. 
  • Ensure that where possible you have appropriate PPE such as face masks available or suggest that participants bring their own. These can be picked up from HWB or the Students’ Union. 
  • Ensure that where necessary each participant uses their own equipment and if equipment must be shared, conduct a thorough clean. 
  • You must track members attending your event or activity using this online form.
  • If a member of your club/ society reports COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive, please follow the below steps; 
  • Please check in regularly with the advice given by your National Governing Body and adhere to their plans for return to play. 
  • Consider the whole end-to-end ‘user journey’ when planning safe operating practices; this means all activities from the time of arrival on site to leaving, not just the sporting activity.

BUCS Return to Play Update 2 October:

"Whilst the exemption does not currently cover recreational use, i.e. 5-a-side bookings for groups of friends, there is a strong opportunity to broaden intra-mural activity and we will update you in due course about how we will be supporting this.

The specific detail around this exemption is as follows:

  • 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. Communication on Term One activity, including localised leagues for indoor sport, will be shared later today.
  • 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. Following NGB guidelines will assist in this area.

We encourage you to liaise with your university’s Health and Safety department and Senior Leadership Team to share this information and confirm their willingness and acceptance to permit student clubs to take up this opportunity."

Welsh Government Guidance on Tuesday 29 September said:

Do the restrictions for indoor meetings of more than 6 people apply to Sports facilities?

No. Playing sport or exercising is a reasonable excuse to gather in a group of up to 30 people. You can find this guidance here.

  • Room bookings should be made directly with your Student Engagement Assistant. Although no firm bookings can be made currently, please send in your requests as these can be kept pending.  
  • The following restrictions will apply; 
  • 2m social distancing must be adhered to.
  • The maximum capacity of the room must be adhered to, please speak to your Student Engagement Assistant for the latest information.
  • It is advised that bookings are made in the evening, between 7pm and 9pm to allow for better availability. 
  • The maximum booking time is 2 hours. 
  • Reoccurring bookings will not be accepted, speak to Student Engagement Assistant for full availability. 
  • Bookings need to be made at least 4 weeks in advance. 
  • No room booking will be accepted unless you have completed a risk assessment and emailed this to your Student Engagement Assistant.
  • Plan to run your activities online, with physical activity being your plan B.  
  • On-campus facilities are slowly reopening - the University and Students' Union will be giving updates as information becomes available.
  • In the event of a breach of social distancing or the university’s & Government’s COVID-19 guidelines, Committee Members will be asked to attend a meeting with senior staff in the Students’ Union, where necessary action will be taken depending on the severity of the breach. 
  • The Students' Union has tools and resources to help you to develop online events, it's easy to use and will mean you're able to create innovative events. Contact your Student Engagement Assistant for more information.
  • At present, you will not be able to use any minibuses. We appreciate this is frustrating, but if restrictions are lifted we can provide you access to the minibuses again. For now, the safest option is to not permit the use of minibuses.