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 under Covid-19 restrictions. If you have any further issues you would like raised, please contact


What is the latest advice regarding youth work delivery?

The Coronavirus (COVID-19): universities, colleges and community learning and development guidance should be followed. This will be kept up to date in line with any new announcements

From 11 December 2021, update to the Test & Self Isolation Guidance.

  • If you’re identified as a household contact of a positive COVID-19 case, you will be advised to self-isolate for 10 days irrespective of vaccination status, PCR test result and age.
  • If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms you should self-isolate immediately and take a PCR test. 
  • If you do not have symptoms, you can order rapid lateral flow tests for regular testing at home.
  • We’re encouraging everyone to take regular tests, this is particularly important if you’re socialising or mixing with other households.
  • Follow the guidance on getting testedand self-isolating.
  • Business and organisations providing public services can apply for a critical workers exemptionto allow essential workers to volunteer to leave self-isolation and return to work, in certain limited circumstance, to allow vital services to continue.

It is important to note that there is not currently any change to COVID Guidance that would prevent face-to-face youth work taking place.  

However, it is in the interests of all involved across the youth work sector to ensure robust and proportionate measures are in place in order to minimise the risk of transmission and ensure appropriate mitigations are in place.  

Youth work organisations should continue to ensure that they meet the following Expectations before Delivery as outlined previously in the youth work sector guidance.

Expectations before delivery - Can you 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 - Enhanced cleaning arrangements; Adequate ventilation and facilities, equipment and procedures for personal hygiene including the wearing of face coverings indoors; Consideration of advice to keep a reasonable distance from people in other households.
  • 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 in a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, or feel your local situation cannot be managed in a safe way, you should not progress.

YouthLink Scotland will update these FAQ on a regular basis as and when we receive any further updates from the Scottish Government.  Youth work organisations should consider contingency planning in preparedness for any future changes.


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

Before delivery you must be able to demonstrate:

  • good hand hygiene and surface cleaning
  • continued promotion of good ventilation
  • requirement for face coverings in certain settings (e.g. public transport)
  • continued compliance with Test and Protect, including self-isolation when necessary
  • ongoing need for outbreak management capability, including active surveillance
  • encouraging a greater degree of working from home than pre‑COVID-19 where this is possible

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.


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

Physical distancing measures have been eased to enable us to operate in a less restricted way. When areas move Beyond Level 0, the following changes will apply:

  • no physical distancing required in outdoor settings
  • no physical distancing required in indoor settings


Can you give me more advice about supporting young people in the use of face coverings?

Youth work organisations should ensure that young people age 12 and over (or who are in S1) are aware of the requirement to wear a face covering in indoor public areas and on public transport

Organisations should help all young people understand the importance of face coverings this in preventing infection transmission, and the recommendation that those under 12 also wear a face covering indoors when attending youth work activities.

Scottish Government guidance regarding the public use of face coverings provides full list of settings where face coverings must be worn and contains helpful information about how to wear and care for a face covering. Organisations may wish to have a small supply of disposable face coverings for young people who do not have one, to ensure that this does not exclude them from the youth work activity.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. Further information can be found here, including how to apply for an exemption card. No one should have to prove they are exempt, but carrying an exemption card may help young people feel more confident about attending a youth work activity. Youth work organisations may wish to ensure young people are aware of how to apply for a card.


Can I deliver youth work in schools?

Youth work taking place in partnership with schools is permitted to take place and should be delivered in line with Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance on schools and in agreement with schools and local authorities.


Can we offer overnight residential opportunities for young people?

There will continue to be separate guidelines for school trips and residential visits for school-aged children. This guidance sets out the current position in relation to overnight residential experiences from 19 August 2021.

Planning for international trips can now resume in line with the mitigations and risk-assessed approach set out below.

Key updates to note:

International school visits and trips can now take place, however organisers should consider carefully whether such trips would be appropriate in light of their local circumstances and wider guidance on international travel. This should include a risk-based assessment of the following:

  • The health and other risks associated with current international travel, including any public health advice for the destination country.
  • The potential benefits to the health, wellbeing and learning of children and young people which may be offered by the trip, and would be difficult to achieve through other means (such as travel to a UK destination).
  • Possible impacts on learning, wellbeing and staffing capacity, should staff or young people be required to isolate on their return for any reason.
  • Specific testing and isolation requirements, both in the UK and for any destination country.
  • Whether or not adequate insurance is in place, including financial protection for possible cancellation or other costs.
  • The age and number of children and young people and staff involved in the trip, and how this may affect the associated transmission risks.
  • Any additional transmission risks associated with specific activities during the trip.

Organisers are also reminded that the travel list (and broader international travel policy) is subject to change and countries may be moved onto the red list at any point. If the travel lists change during a visit, organisers must comply with international travel guidance and should have contingency plans in place to account for these changes.

In case of a participant developing COVID-19 during an international trip, it is a matter for individual groups to devise an appropriate isolation and repatriation plan for their individual circumstances. For example, it may not always be feasible to arrange repatriation for a participant if already abroad, so it may be more appropriate for an infected individual to isolate in place for the remainder of the trip or as long as required, depending on destination restrictions and trip duration. Additionally organisers should consider arrangements for staff isolation and repatriation, including any safeguarding implications this may have should multiple staff be required to isolate, as well as access to testing if required.

Unless otherwise stated all trips should continue to comply with relevant guidance for schools and international travel.


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

Youth work organisations considering delivering physical activities, music or drama activities may wish to consult advice for reducing the risks in schools. This sets out the physical education and expressive arts activity for children and young people in schools, across each Level, and the recommended mitigations.


What do the guidelines say about the sharing of equipment both sporting, stationery and games - e.g. balls, pens, game pieces and cards….. for both under 12s and over 12s?

Sharing of equipment should be avoided where possible. Where shared equipment is necessary for a youth work activity appropriate hygiene measures must be put in place to ensure the equipment is thoroughly cleaned before, during and after use (including between groups) using standard detergent and disinfectant that are active against viruses and bacteria. This includes balls and sports equipment. When undertaking sport activities with balls, measures to minimise uncovered body contact should also be in place. SportScotland's guidance on this issue may also be helpful to consider. Children and young people should be encouraged not to touch their face.


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  may also be of use.

Where young people are involved in food preparation, as part of a youth work activity, organisations may wish to consider what additional mitigations will support safe delivery. And how these will be communicated to young people.


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 for early years and childcare settings may also be useful  regarding infection control procedures, including the use of gloves and aprons, and where PPE is required.


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.


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