Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ hopes to address some of the key issues youth workers are considering in relation to the return of face-to-face youth work delivery in the aftermath of Covid-19. If you have any further issues you would like raised, please contact

Can I deliver youth work in schools?

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance on preparing for the start of the new school term in August 2020 sets out the key public health measures that local authorities and schools will have in place to minimise the risks of Covid-19 transmission and infection. This includes strictly limiting adult visitors to schools to those that are necessary to support children and young people. Youth work organisations should work with their local authority or school to understand what is possible in each local context and consider off-site, outdoor and digital approaches to delivery. Youth work organisations must work to the risk assessment and measures the school has in place, in addition to completing a risk assessment for the youth work delivery.  

Youth workers who would normally work between more than one school should keep this to a minimum. You may wish to consider alternative approaches to delivery, including digital or outdoor settings.


What steps to I need to consider before commencing delivery of face to face youth work?

Before delivery you must be able to demonstrate:

  • Scottish Government scientific and medical advice deems it safe to proceed
  • Ability to comply with Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland guidance
  • Comprehensive risk assessment
  • Measures for infection prevention and control, including:
    - Enhanced cleaning arrangements
    - Adequate facilities, equipment and procedures for personal hygiene
    - Measures are in place to comply with physical distancing requirements
    - Ability to adhere to the Scottish Government Test and Protect Covid-19 guidance
    - Specific measures to protect those who are at higher risk from Covid-19
  • Clear communication processes - to ensure staff, volunteers, service users and parents understand the measures you have put in place to manage risk
  • Appropriate insurance cover
  • That these measures are monitored and reviewed regularly

If you cannot demonstrate you have these expectations in place, or feel your local situation cannot be managed in a safe way, you should not progress.


Can I continue to deliver youth work if there are local restrictions?

In general, local restrictions don’t impact on youth work delivery at this time. However, youth work organisations should make sure they are aware of any specific local guidance or restrictions that may apply. Youth work organisations should continue to adhere to the youth work guidance, including ensuring physical distancing and hygiene measures are followed and may wish to consider limiting the number of youth work interactions while local restrictions are in place.


How many young people can be involved in an activity?

A maximum of 30 individuals (children, young people and youth workers) in any youth work interaction. The general approach should be to minimise the size of groups where possible.


Is there a maximum number of households that can be involved in youth work activities?

The household restriction does not apply to any gatherings for the purposes of education, training or voluntary services.


Can I deliver physical activities, music or drama within my youth work setting?

Youth work organisations considering delivering physical activities, music or drama activities should consider the advice from the Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues, in particular the Advisory Note published on 10 September. A creative and incremental approach is recommended, including, where possible, continued use of outdoor spaces for physical activity. It is also recommended that activities which involve singing should be avoided. Education Scotland Physical Education guidance for schools may also be useful to youth work organisations.


Are young people and youth workers required to maintain physical distancing during activities?

Yes. Children aged 11 or under no longer need to physically distance. Young people aged 12+ must continue to physically distance. All youth work leaders must physically distance from all children and young people and from each other/other adults.


Can we provide children/young people with food and drinks?

Yes. Public health advice should be followed, including hand washing and cleaning of equipment and materials. Individuals should be encouraged not to share food.  Health Protection Scotland's guidance for non-healthcare settings and Scottish Government's school and childcare guidance may also be of use for issues like these.


Can I provide first aid to children and young people?

Yes, but robust infection control procedures should be in place and followed at all times. There is specific guidance for first responders (COVID-19: guidance for first responders) which sets out what you are required to do if you come into close contact with someone as part of your first responder duties. Scottish Government guidance should also be followed regarding infection control procedures, including the use of gloves and aprons, and where PPE is required.


Is there a limit to the number of face-to-face youth work sessions a youth worker can deliver per day? And would this affect the number of households they can meet in their personal time that day?

The household restriction does not apply to any gathering for the purposes of education, training or voluntary services, so you do not need to impose a daily limit on the number of one-to-one or group work sessions a member of staff/volunteer can deliver. These youth work interactions would not count towards the maximum number of households that your staff/volunteers and young people could meet out-with these planned youth work gatherings (i.e. in their own personal time).

However, organisations may wish to limit the number of daily face-to-face youth work interactions, to support the safety of their workforce and young people. We would recommend that, where possible, face-to-face youth work interactions should be limited to one per day, per youth worker.  If this is not possible, measures to avoid potential transmission between groups should be ensured (e.g. good personal hygiene and cleaning of any materials and ensuring physical distancing is maintained).


What procedures and measures for infection prevention and control are required?

The gradual and phased recommencement of face-to-face youth work activities will be dependent on procedures and measures being in place for infection prevention and control. This includes:

  • Enhanced cleaning arrangements
  • Guidance on, and provision of equipment, where appropriate, for respiratory hygiene, e.g. face coverings and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) where required
  • Guidance on and facilities to aid personal hygiene, including frequent hand-washing, or sanitising with alcohol gel
  • Measures such as a contact/group work log to support contact tracing in line with the Scottish Government Test and Protect Covid-19 guidance
  • Clear signage and communication for staff, volunteers and young people
  • Guidance for staff and volunteers about the procedure if someone becomes unwell on-site or one or more Covid-19 cases occur.

Indoor settings should also ensure adequate levels of ventilation. This might include having doors or windows open where possible.


Are there household restrictions on the delivery of outdoor youth work for young people over 18 year of age?

No, it is recognised that youth work’s focus is on the 11-25 year age group. The household restriction does not apply to any gatherings for the purposes of education, training or voluntary services.


What does the youth work guidance say for working with a mix of age groups (e.g. under 11s, 12+ and young parents)?

There is nothing to say you cannot work with a mixed age group but organisations will have to ensure their approach to delivery ensures they can maintain the required physical distancing rules for each age group. They may wish to consider working with bubble groups based on age bands to manage the different physical distancing requirements.


Can we offer overnight residential opportunities for youth groups?

No, during Phase 3 of the Scottish Government Route map, no overnight stays are permitted.


Can I facilitate face-to-face youth work activities for larger groups of young people (more than 30)?

No, during Phase 3 of the Scottish Government Route map, only youth work activities with a maximum of 30 individuals (children, young people and youth workers) can be supported.


Is there a recommended generic youth work template for doing risk assessments?

There is not a generic risk assessment template although your parent body may have resource available for you to use. YouthLink Scotland has collated some examples of risk assessment template which can be accessed here.


Do the current guidelines allow for transporting young people to an outing from various households in a car or mini-bus?

Careful consideration should also be given to Scottish Government guidelines on physical distancing and face coverings, where transport is necessary for participation. Any activities that require service users to travel with youth work staff or volunteers should be thoroughly risk assessed. This may include day trips and outings. Physical distancing restrictions must be maintained throughout the period of travel, alongside face coverings, and facilities/equipment for frequent hand washing. Organisations should also ensure that they (or the company responsible for the vehicle) have enhanced cleaning arrangements in place and that there is adequate ventilation within the vehicle. Any requirement for transport as part of a planned activity will have an impact when determining capacity.


Are there any special considerations for children age 5-16 with additional needs, in relation to meeting as part of a bigger group of young people? 

The specific needs of individual children and young people should be considered within risk assessment and in determining capacity. Where appropriate, an individual risk assessment should be undertaken. Children and young people with complex additional support needs arising from health factors will require appropriate arrangements to protect their health and wellbeing, including social distancing. Further information guidance on appropriate arrangements is available within the non-healthcare settings guidance


Are there any examples of good practice of how to engage with young people prior to opening the centre?

Some youth centres are using detached work to engage with young people on the streets, prior to re-opening the centre. Digital youth work, including using social media, can also be a good approach to communicating your renewal plans, including the measures you are putting in place to keep everyone safe.


Can I organise 5-a-side football with young people, and do they need to maintain physical distancing?

Children and young people can play outdoor contact sports. This should only take place in organised settings (i.e. organised by a sports club or other sports provider). Physical distancing does not need to be maintained during play, but normal restrictions apply before and after play. Coaches or other adults supervising, including parents, should maintain physical distancing at all times.

Organised play and other physical activities are subject to physical distancing for young people 12 and over.

Children and young people under 12 can resume indoor contact sports.

Youth work leaders considering outdoor contact sports should follow the latest Scottish Government guidance, including adhering to the maximum number of individuals who can meet together at any one time, and Sports Scotland guidance.

Back to top