Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): community learning and development sector

Guidance to help local authorities, third sector organisations and partners working in Scotland’s schools, colleges and communities to provide community learning and development (CLD) services safely.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): community learning and development sector
Physical distancing

Physical distancing

Physical distancing duties are set out in regulation 4(1) of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020. 

Physical distancing measures will be slowly eased to enable us to operate in a less restricted way.

When areas move down to Level 0, the following changes will apply:

  • no physical distancing required in outdoor settings
  • physical distancing of one metre in indoor settings

Physical distancing requirements will be removed when all areas in Scotland move beyond Level 0, subject to review.

Providers of CLD services, CLD staff and volunteers must take all reasonable measures:

  • to ensure that, as of 19 July when all of Scotland moves to Level 0, a distance of one metre is maintained between any persons on the premises (except between members of the same household or a carer and the person assisted by the carer)
  • to ensure that they only admit people to its premises in sufficiently small numbers to make it possible to maintain that distance
  • to ensure that a distance of one metre is maintained between any person waiting to enter the premises (except between members of the same household or a carer and the person assisted by the carer)

CLD providers must take a responsible attitude to these vital health protection rules and should look critically at their operations to ensure they take all reasonable measures so that workers and anyone else on the premises maintain a one metre distance from each other.

As well as Coronavirus Legislation, business operators have further legal obligations to protect their staff under health and safety legislation, which must also be complied with.

Physical distancing should be considered in all relevant areas of CLD practice. In planning for physical distancing, Service providers should adopt the default physical distancing protocols as described in the guidance provided by Public Health Scotland which reflects precautionary judgements..

Physical distancing

Use of floor markings and signage can help to remind people to maintain the protocols put in place. In circumstances where physical distancing cannot be maintained, action should be taken to consider further control measures including suspending activity if it is not an essential part of service delivery. The Scottish Government business and physical distancing guidance and Health Protection Scotland COVID-19 information and guidance for general (non-healthcare) settings will provide further information on how to follow physical distancing in the workplace.

CLD service providers should also consider the following in relation to physical distancing:

  • the use of space by staff and service users to ensure adherence to physical distancing guidance, in line with guidance provided by Public Health Scotland. This will be determined by a variety of factors including the dimensions and layout of buildings and the requirements of different disciplines.
  • the use of clear, appropriate signage across areas where face to face activity is taking place reminding people to maintain the required distance
  • physical adjustments such as the use of perspex shields at reception or registration points
  • one-way systems and special controls on access and egress to constrained spaces such as facilities, including toilets and changing rooms, while adhering to physical distancing guidance measures
  • staggered start times, shifts and part-time working and home working should also be considered to minimise the numbers of staff in specific buildings and/or spaces at any one time
  • the availability of staff, including caring responsibilities and contingency plans where individuals are shielding or self-isolating
  • supporting services required in increasing the number of individuals on-site and how they can be provided as safely as possible
  • consideration should also be given to the timescales for reviewing the effectiveness of physical distancing measures and additional hygiene protocols, particularly in circumstances where CLD staff, volunteers and learners could come into close proximity of one another. Existing legislation and supporting guidance for CLD services is being reviewed every 3 weeks.
  • this would be a good starting point for organisations implementing review timescales, however, this may need to be reviewed more regularly following local arrangements. 
  • further consideration should be given to any additional requirements for staff and volunteers working with learners who require additional support. For example; tutors working within the ESOL community and those with sensory difficulties may require to factor the importance of facial expression in communicating with learners which could be impacted by the use of face coverings.

Information and decisions on the above measures should be made in collaboration with CLD staff, volunteers and trade unions and information on how to keep safe should be readily available to CLD staff and volunteers at all times. A full list of working environments for CLD staff and volunteers can be found in the CLD workforce section at the end of this guidance.


First published: 31 Jul 2020 Last updated: 20 Jul 2021 -