As Covid-19 restrictions begin to lift around the UK we know many archaeology groups and societies are beginning to look at ways to restart activities such as fieldwork and thinking about developing new event programmes.
We understand that the practicalities of doing this may feel daunting and that many of you are looking for guidance and advice on how to safely do this. We are in a similar situation as we plan our own activities for the remainder of the year and fully sympathise with the challenges you face.
At present we are unable to provide specific guidance relating to returning to archaeological activities and events as the situation across the UK continues to remain complex and evolving. We are however continuing to monitor government guidance, and our ongoing Recharging British Archaeology project will help us better understand your needs and how we may be able to help your group become stronger and more resilient for the future. We are also working with several other organisations to look at ways to provide some more bespoke information to help you with your planning and will share that with you as soon as we are able.
We are delighted to hear that so many groups and societies are keen to get active again but it is vital that any steps we take to restart activity are safe. The most important thing we can recommend at the moment is to follow the government guidance relevant to where you live. There are variations across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland and you may also need to consider specific guidance relating to your locality.
While we cannot provide archaeology specific guidance at the moment the UK Government has issued a helpful 5 step guide to working safely which we think is a really good starting point when thinking about any activities and events you are considering.
The 5 steps are:
1. Carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment
The UK Government has links to HSE guidance on risk assessments. HSE Northern Ireland has also produced a good example which you can find here.
2. Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures
The UK Government has provided some general guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings outside the home which you can find here.
3. Help people to work from home
In terms of fieldwork and events, this is a good point to think about and discuss the practicalities of bringing people together again. If safely meeting face to face is going to be difficult at the moment are there opportunities for your members to do any activities individually, in very small groups, or would your members be interested in some social activities or events online?
4. Maintain 2m social distancing, where possible
You will need to think about the implications of this in terms of the type of activity you are planning and if you are planning an indoor event what implications this will have on the number of participants and the suitability of your venue. The UK Government has produced some guidance on the use of multi-purpose community facilities which you can find here.
5. Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage the transmission risk
Check the relevant government guidance for your country/region regarding managing transmission and the use of PPE and face coverings.
Please visit the UK Government website to read the full 5 step guide which includes links to associated information and as noted earlier please also look at the relevant guidance for your county and/or region.
It is also important to say that is perfectly okay if your group doesn’t yet feel comfortable planning or restarting face to face activities and events. We know many groups have been introducing digital activity as a way of keeping in touch with and providing events for members and you may choose to continue to do this for now. Other groups have been sharing details of activities that people can do individually or with their families such as self-guided walks. You may also want to look at a blend of different types of activity over the coming months to reach members who can attend events and those who may prefer or need to engage remotely. Whatever your group decides to do, the most important consideration is the safety of your committee and members.
If you are a YAC leader you can find some additional support here.
The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak is an ongoing, rapidly developing situation. The CBA recommends all groups and societies monitor and follow government advice for their country and local area. This information is intended to highlight government guidance available and is not a definitive list of the issues to consider when planning new activity. All activities should be informed by an up-to-date and appropriate risk assessment and you may find it helpful to share this with participants in advance.
Please be advised that the information provided here is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.