Publication - Factsheet

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues – advice on physical education and expressive arts

Published: 17 May 2021

Advisory note from the Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues providing advice to minimise transmission of COVID-19 during physical education and expressive arts.

Published:
17 May 2021
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues – advice on physical education and expressive arts

Key Messages

There is an increased risk of transmission of COVID-19 during activities such as physical education, dance, music (particularly singing, and playing wind and brass instruments) and drama (including school debating type activities) because of the respiratory aerosols which are exhaled during these activities and the close proximity of participants. The wearing of face coverings is usually not possible for these activities.  

There is a hierarchy of risk in these activities: outdoors being safer than indoors; activities undertaken at low volume or that have lower respiratory exertion being safer than aerosol-generating activities; individual or small numbers involved being safer than large groups; activities involving no sharing of equipment being safer than those that do (or where equipment cannot be cleaned thoroughly between uses); and activities which can be done at a distance (or virtually) being safer than those in close proximity. Shorter duration carries lower risk than longer duration.

The sub-group has provided advice previously on safe ways of undertaking some form of these activities wherever possible, until they could be recommenced safely in full.  The sub-group has now reconsidered its advice in the light of the ongoing success of the vaccination programme, the continued suppression of the virus, and the consequent easing of some of the wider restrictions across society in order to restore more normality to everyday lives.   The sub-group has also taken into consideration the importance of physical education, dance, music, and drama  for the health and wellbeing of children and young people, as well as their social, physical and cognitive development; creativity, communication, team working, and discipline. These activities are also important routes to equity and inclusion, and are the basis of further education and employment for many. However, the greater transmissibility of the currently dominant variants of the virus, compared to the earlier ‘wild type’, means that ongoing vigilance is required to minimise opportunities for spread, including continued commitment to reducing activities at the higher risk ends of the scales outlined above.

The table below sets out the drama, music, physical education and dance activity for children and young people in schools and ELC settings to align with the levels approach within the Strategic Framework from Level 3 onwards.  It is anticipated that most local authorities across Scotland will move to Level 2 on 17 May.

This advice recognises there are still risks associated with these activities and reflects growing evidence about routes of transmission including (i) the importance of airborne routes of transmission of the virus, compared with surface transmission; and (ii) the greater relative risk of transmission by secondary pupils compared with primary and pre-school aged children. 

In preventing aerosol transmission, physical distancing and ventilation remain important mitigation measures. Where possible, therefore, singing and other aerosol-generating activities should be conducted outdoors or in large ventilated spaces where there is the ability to ensure physical distancing – particularly in secondary schools.

There should be no sharing of brass or wind musical instruments unless thoroughly cleaned between learners, and careful consideration should be given to the cleaning of all instruments and other equipment such as music stands or props for drama. People should wash their hands before and after touching such shared equipment.

For physical education, activities which involve contact with shared equipment (e.g. gymnastic equipment) should be kept to a minimum.  For all indoor physical education, particular attention should be paid to ensuring effective ventilation, good hygiene and sanitising of shared equipment.

Even at Level 0, we should be aiming to maintain the higher standards of hygiene and ventilation than were present pre-COVID.

 

Strategic Framework

Organised Children’s Activities – provisions as at 21 April 2021

Schools – provisions as at April 2021

Proposed updated guidance to apply to schools and children’s unregulated activities

Level 3

Non-professional performing arts not permitted.

Sport all outdoors activity permitted except adult contact. Indoor individual activity permitted. All indoor group activity permitted for under 18s.

Drama activity permitted outdoors/ digitally.

Music (low risk)* activity permitted indoors within the overall cap at each level.

Music (higher risk, including singing)** indoor activity not advised, particularly in groups. Limited outdoor activity might be possible but is dependent on risk assessment and decision by individual groups/ service providers. Choirs should not resume.

Private tuition (including singing, wind and brass) permitted in people’s homes, with relevant mitigations.

Drama activity is permitted outdoors in small groups and indoors if low risk criteria are met*.

Music (low risk)* activity permitted outdoors/ digitally and indoors subject to risk assessment.

Music (higher risk, including singing)** is not recommended except in limited circumstances for pupils preparing for assessment.

PE and Dance outdoors contact and non-contact physical education is permitted. Individual non-contact physical education is permitted indoors.

Drama activity is permitted outdoors in small groups and indoors if low risk criteria advised previously by the sub-group are met (i.e. outdoors or virtual activities, normal breathing and volume of speech, individual or small numbers involved)

Music (low risk)* activity permitted outdoors/ digitally and indoors subject to risk assessment.

Music (higher risk, including singing)**

For ELC to Primary 3 singing outdoors and indoors is permitted subject to risk assessment and with appropriate mitigations. 

For Primary 4 onwards activity is not recommended except in limited circumstances for senior phase pupils preparing for assessment. 

PE and Dance contact and non-contact physical education is permitted outdoors.  Individual non-contact activity is permitted indoors in line with sport in the strategic framework.  Particular attention should be paid to ensuring effective ventilation, good hygiene and sanitising of shared equipment.

Level 2

Non-professional performing arts permitted outdoors.

Sport all organised activitypermitted except adult indoor contact sports

Drama activity permitted outdoors/ digitally.

Music (low risk)* activity permitted indoors within the overall cap at each level.

Music (higher risk, including singing)** indoor activity not advised, particularly in groups. Limited outdoor activity might be possible but is dependent on risk assessment and decision by individual groups/ service providers. Choirs should not resume.

Private tuition (including singing, wind and brass) permitted in people’s homes, with relevant mitigations.

Drama activity is permitted outdoors in small groups and indoors if low risk criteria are met.

Music (low risk)* activity permitted outdoors/ digitally and indoors subject to risk assessment.

Music (higher risk, including singing)** is not recommended except in limited circumstances for pupils preparing for assessment.

PE and Dance outdoors contact and non-contact physical education is permitted.

Group and individual non-contact physical education is permitted indoors.

Drama activity is permitted outdoors in small groups and indoors if low risk criteria are met and with appropriate mitigations.

Music (low risk)* activity permitted outdoors/ digitally and indoors subject to risk assessment.

Music (higher risk, including singing)**

For ELC and primary aged children  activity outdoors and indoors is permitted subject to risk assessment and with appropriate mitigations. 

For secondary aged young people activity outdoors is permitted.  Activity indoors is not recommended except in limited circumstances for pupils preparing for assessment.

One to one lessons (singing, wind, and brass) are permitted indoors for all age groups, with very good ventilation and careful mitigations.

PE and Dance

For ELC and primary aged children - contact and non-contact physical education is permitted outdoors and indoors with appropriate ventilation and particular attention being paid to good hygiene and sanitising of shared equipment.

For secondary aged young people – contact and non-contact physical education and dance is permitted outdoors.  Group and individual non-contact physical education and dance is permitted indoors.  Contact sport may be permitted indoors subject to risk assessment and appropriate mitigations.

Level 1

Non-professional performing arts permitted indoors.

Sport all organised activity permitted except adult indoor contact sports

Drama activity permitted outdoors/ digitally. Indoor activities expected to be permitted in Level 1 and 0 from 7 June. 

Music (low risk)* activity permitted indoors within the overall cap at each level.

Music (higher risk, including singing)** indoor activity not advised, particularly in groups. Limited outdoor activity might be possible but is dependent on risk assessment and decision by individual groups/ service providers. Choirs should not resume.

Private tuition (including singing, wind and brass) permitted in people’s homes, with relevant mitigations.

Drama activity is permitted outdoors in small groups and indoors if low risk criteria are met.

Music (low risk)* activity permitted outdoors/ digitally and indoors subject to risk assessment.

Music (higher risk, including singing)** is not recommended except in limited circumstances for pupils preparing for assessment.

PE and Dance outdoors contact and non-contact physical education is permitted.

Group and individual non-contact physical education is permitted indoors.

Drama activity indoors and outdoors is permitted with appropriate mitigations and ventilation. (This brings drama in line with sport in the strategic framework).

Music (low risk)* activity indoors and outdoors is permitted with appropriate mitigations including ventilation. (This brings activity in line with sport in the strategic framework).

Music (higher risk, including singing)**

For ELC and primary aged children  activity outdoors and indoors is permitted as long as careful attention is paid to ensuring effective ventilation. 

(This brings activity in line with sport in the strategic framework).

For secondary aged young people activity outdoors is permitted.  Activity indoors is permitted  subject to risk assessment and appropriate mitigations including effective ventilation and physical distancing.

One to one lessons (singing, wind, and brass) are permitted indoors for all age groups, with very good ventilation and careful mitigations.

PE and Dance contact and non-contact physical education is permitted outdoors and indoors. (This brings activity in line with sport in the strategic framework).

 

For all activity at Level 0, we should be aiming to maintain appropriate mitigations, particularly the higher standards of hygiene and ventilation than were present pre-COVID

Level 0

Non-professional performing arts all activity permitted.

Sport all activity permitted.

Drama activity permitted outdoors/ digitally. Indoor activities expected to be permitted in Level 1 and 0. 

Music (low risk)* activity permitted indoors within the overall cap at each level.

Music (higher risk, including singing)** indoor activity not advised, particularly in groups. Limited outdoor activity might be possible but is dependent on risk assessment and decision by individual groups/ service providers. Choirs should not resume.

Private tuition (including singing, wind and brass) permitted in people’s homes, with relevant mitigations.

Drama activity is permitted outdoors in small groups and indoors if low risk criteria are met.

Music (low risk)* activity permitted outdoors/ digitally and indoors subject to risk assessment.

Music (higher risk, including singing)** is not recommended except in limited circumstances for pupils preparing for assessment.

PE and Dance outdoors contact and non-contact physical education is permitted.

Group and individual non-contact physical education is permitted indoors.

Drama activity indoors and outdoors is permitted. (This brings drama in line with sport in the strategic framework).

Music (low risk)* activity indoors and outdoors is permitted. (This brings activity in line with sport in the strategic framework).

Music (higher risk, including singing)** activity indoors and outdoors is permitted. (This brings activity in line with sport in the strategic framework).

One to one lessons (singing, wind, and brass) are permitted indoors for all age groups, with relevant mitigations.

PE and Dance contact and non-contact physical education is permitted outdoors and indoors. (This brings activity in line with sport in the strategic framework).

 

* Music (low risk) in line with the sub-group’s previously stated definition i.e. percussion, keyboards, strings and guitars.

**Music (higher risk, including singing) in line with the sub-group’s previously stated definition i.e. singing, wind (including pipes) and brass.