Return of School Rowing – 8 March

With schools returning on 8 March, we’ve set out what we know so far and highlight some of the questions we’re still actively seeking answers


In the first step of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown (Step 1a), schools will reopen and will be allowed to deliver school rowing. The details of how this will work are contained in the Government’s Schools coronavirus operational guidance (see p58, Physical activity in schools). We’ve set out below a summary of what it means and what we are looking to clarify.

  • Schools may deliver rowing as part of curricular or ‘wrap-around care’ subject to it fitting within their own system of controls.
  • Outdoor sport should be prioritised, meaning on-water rowing, including crew boats may take place following our COVID-Secure guidance.
  • Where outdoor sport is not possible, indoor sport can be delivered subject to maximising natural ventilation flows (through opening windows and doors or using air conditioning systems wherever possible), distancing between pupils, and paying scrupulous attention to cleaning and hygiene. In relation to indoor rowing, we would suggest where possible rowing machines are moved outside and if this is not possible, the guidance above is followed.
  • Groups should be kept as consistent as possible and in order to comply we would suggest keeping groups taking part in rowing and any individual crews as consistent as possible.
  • Schools can work with external coaches (from clubs or other organisations) subject to the school being happy this fits in their system of controls. See below in relation to external facilities.

We are looking to clarify the situation regarding whether schools may use external facilities from 8 March or 29 March (e.g. partner rowing clubs):

  • The guidance is clear that rowing may take place in school-owned/operated facilities, however, the guidance suggests that external facilities may only be used in line with Government guidance for the use of these facilities (i.e. if they are closed to the rest of the public or they are outside of the local area they cannot be used).

Once we have further clarification on the point above, this advice will be incorporated into a new version of our ‘Managing COVID-19’ guidance document. Please remember that the requirements above are in addition to any normal welfare and safety requirements and restrictions from local water authorities (e.g. red boards).

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