Covid 19 Information Steve Ranger March 16, 2020 Latest News, TrekCo News 1st December The second lockdown will end tomorrow, and we are able to run day trips and activity sessions. We have a good number of day trips booked for the winter months including activity days, team days, GCSE PE and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions run as day trips, as is currently permitted. We have heard unsubstantiated rumours that in February it will be announced that residentials trips may recommence from Easter, so reserve your dates now. Bookings – we have a new set of Terms and Conditions for bookings until 31st July 2021 at: https://trekco.com/schools/information-teachers/terms-and-conditions-for-schools-and-colleges/ These terms are designed to safeguard your money in the event of a Covid related cancellation, and give us some security too. They have been developed in consultation with a large academy trust and several schools. Our current Covid measures (to be read in conjunction with our normal Risk Assessments) can be read here. Our current Covid measures for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions can be read here. 3rd June Now that schools are back we’ve had a few calls asking what’s happening – unfortunately we don’t know any more than you do! We have some indications, unofficially, that DofE expeditions will be going ahead possible from August onwards, but no word from anyone about residentials or day trips. We have had documentation from various outdoor organisations detailing safety measures including social distancing measures adapted for outdoor activities and camping, and it looks like measures should be straightforward enough to implement. However we await guidance or a ruling from LEAs as to whether/when they will permit trips to go ahead. 25th May A huge ‘Thank you’ to all of our clients – schools coming with TrekCo have been incredibly supportive and helpful during the Covid crisis and this has helped us to steer our way through. We really couldn’t have done it without the great relationships we have with schools, and we are so grateful for your good wishes and kind actions – really, thank you! Cancellations and rescheduling – every school with a deposit with us so far has been happy to postpone their trip until either later in the year or to 2021, depending on the type of trip, year group and so on. If you’d like to discuss your trip, please call Steve directly on 07966 275226 – it’s much easier to have just one person dealing with co-ordinating everything. Blackland Farm – please be aware that if you’ve had an email or seen notices that Blackland Farm is closed, we are not Blackland Farm! The site belongs to Girlguiding UK but we are a separate company using their land and we operate separately. DofE – The DofE are continually updating their guidance, and we get the feeling that the first trips to be restarted will be DofE expeditions – especially for example Gold expeditions where participants will be in remoter areas. DofE expeditions are 100% outdoors, and we have bought individual tents so that we can offer expeditions keeping some distance. This has been covered by the DofE; participants will carry the same weight as if they were carrying a portion of (say) a three-person tent, and we will transport the individual tents to the campsite (or very close by) each night. 2021 – is shaping up to be an extremely busy year. We are of course prioritising those schools wishing to postpone their trips and move their deposit to 2021, and fitting in dates as we can. The default position is that you would get the same dates relative to 2020, but please bear in mind that there’s an extra week in the summer term 2021 so the same dates could be a different number of weeks before/after Easter, SATS, summer holidays etc – please check as soon as you can. Covid measures – we await government guidance on camping and activities, but these are being devised. There is already some guidance on taking small groups climbing produced by the Association of Mountain Instructors, and we have had some activities approved by the local Public Health England representative – such as kayaking, mountain biking and some problem solving activities where people can be apart. Once we have guidance on all activities, residential settings, mealtimes and transport we will be able to offer trips which are as safe as it is possible to be. 28th March Clearly we don’t know how long this situation will last, so this leaves us not knowing whether any school trips will go ahead at all, and if so when. Please get in touch with us to discuss postponements and cancellations of trips – remember that if cancelling, your first call should be to your insurers to make sure you’re covered. We’re happy rescheduling trips wherever possible – please call us! 19th March Since the article below was written, it has been announced that schools are closing. As will be the case for you, this is very sudden and we have a great deal to work on – our season has been cancelled and this is a very seasonal business. We have bookings, facilities, staff, accommodation and lots of other things to reorganise and cancel. It’s especially worth noting that we’ve had advice from the DofEthat expeditions should go ahead where possible by rescheduling to the autumn and into the winter. It has never been the case that expeditions can’t go ahead in winter months; seasons have only ever been recommended and expeditions planned according to conditions. So for example, Bronze expeditions in Sussex in November are fine, as long as we have backup plans for really bad weather (like sleeping indoors in basic accommodation if necessary). We are not making anyone redundant you’ll be pleased to hear, but we are working through a lot of things currently. Many schools are asking to reschedule their courses and of course that would be our ideal, so we are working on that as a priority. Please email us and let us know if you have any rescheduling ideas for your trip. 17th March We need hardly say that this situation is fluid and that this will change every day, but want you to know what we’re doing at the moment. We won’t repeat the advice that everyone is aware of here – you all know what we need to do! Compared to some environments, outdoor trips are actually very safe and we would list some points to consider: – Your group will, once here, be in an environment which is outdoor and apart from all other groups – We have measures in place to ensure that our staff are distancing themselves socially and reporting in before they come to work each week that they are well – Thorough cleaning of all surfaces is carried out during each session so that all door handles, rails, toilets and flush handles, etc. – every surface we can identify – are disinfected several times per day – A plan is in place for immediate isolation of any suspected cases whether in a child, teacher or our staff These are not the only measures in place but we want you to know that our culture of safety in activities carries over in this situation to awareness of virus-related issues and that we are at all times considering the safety of you and your students. Whilst no-one can claim a safe environment anywhere, we are doing all that we can to be at least as safe as school or home, and probably more so. For any further information, please call our office on 01273 487509.