Slowly but surely, groups are gathering again face-to-face after many months of being apart because of the COVID19 pandemic. Students are returning to classrooms and training programs are greetings participants again, which is very welcome news.
Understandably, after such a long time apart staring at pixellated versions of our friends and colleagues, there are many of us who are anxious to return to in-person settings. The pandemic is still very real and many of us are told we must learn to live with it.
To this end, I think it very prudent to continue to embrace a variety of physical-distancing protocols. These will help groups feel more comfortable coming together again and, of course, keep them safe.
Last year I wrote an article that shared a bunch of useful tips to help groups interact while respecting physical-distancing protocols. Ten months later, we have all learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t so have thought to update my recommendations, below.
It is now super-easy to find activities that can be easily adapted to suit a virtual or online gathering. To date, there are more than 130 activities you can choose from, with more added every month.
Social-Distancing at Play
Initially, we did consider adding a similar search tool to filter those activities which had been adapted to suit physical (or social) distancing measures. However, we decided not to because we discovered we just kept repeating the same guidelines over and over. Consequently, we decided it was more effective to simply share a series of protocols that could apply to all activities.
These basic protocols are repeated below, but I urge you to read the detail contained in our earlier article.
Thankfully, the biggest change to what we all knew back then is that we now have a vaccine available to keep our groups safe.
Screen in Advance
Have a series of questions to ask every participant before they arrive or enter your premises, eg are you vaccinated?
Record their Details
This one simple step will make the task of contact tracing so much easier if you later discover an issue.
If you are concerned about adequate ventilation, encourage the use of face masks. This one act is by far the simplest and most powerful precaution one can take to minimise the risk of spreading an infectious disease.
Wash Hands & Sanitise Regularly
Ask your group to wash their hands thoroughly before, during and after physical contact with other participants.
Limit the Use of Props
When it comes to props and equipment, you have three options – use none, ask your group to bring their own, or if you must share resources, be sure to sanitise them after every use.
Keep 1.5 to 2 Metres Apart
This is easier said than done, especially in the context of interactive group games & activities. The key here is to minimise the number of times your group is in very close contact with each other.
If possible, move your group outside to benefit from ample airflow.
Help When You Need It
None of these physical-distancing guidelines is necessarily easy, even now that we are 18 months into this pandemic.
If you’d like some help adapting or adjusting your existing or new programs to respect physical-distancing guidelines, please reach out to me. I’m here to help.