Colleges exempt from new Covid rules on adult indoor sport

New restrictions on adult indoor sports and five-a-side football will not apply to colleges if the activity is part of “education or training provision”, the government has confirmed.

However, colleges have been told that indoor student-led sport during lunchtime, break or free periods “should be limited to groups of six or less”.

All adult indoor games with more than six players have been banned from today as the government steps up its efforts to combat the huge surge in coronavirus infections.

When announcing a new list of Covid-19 restrictions for England in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Johnson said: “We will also have to extend the rule of six to all adult indoor team sports.”

The Department for Education has today told FE Week that organised indoor college sport, for groups of more than six, is permitted in further education settings “where it is part of an education or training provision, or as part of college teams”.

This applies to all age groups. However, the DfE said that sport should take place outside where possible.

The DfE added that “indoor student-led sporting activity, where it is not in line with any education or training provision, should be limited to groups of six or less.

“This includes where students have free time such as lunch time, breaks and free periods.”

Colleges have also been reminded that at “all times, participants should comply with Covid-19 secure measures including the ‘system of controls’ for their setting and limit social interaction outside of the sporting activity”.

The government’s guidance for indoor sport that is not in an education setting states: “From 24 September, organised indoor sport and indoor exercise classes can continue to take place with larger numbers present, provided groups of more than six do not mix. If groups of six are likely to mix, these indoor activities must not go ahead.

“There is an exemption or organised indoor team sports for disabled people.”

Other restrictions announced this week includes an enforced 10pm closing time for pubs, restaurants and takeaways from today. All workers are also being told to again work from home if they can with immediate effect.

People who break the rules and meet for social gatherings in groups larger than six or do not wear face coverings on public transport face fines of £200.

The education sector is currently exempt from the measures, with Johnson insisting that “we will ensure that schools, colleges and universities stay open”.