Published 07/09/2020


This information has been compiled by EMD UK based on government guidance, and documentation from the NYA and Department for Education. The document is only intended as guidance for children’s classes taking place in a group exercise setting and should be read alongside our Return to Play document. It is not for other children’s sporting activities (e.g. swimming lessons) or for childcare settings, such as after-school or holiday clubs.

All group exercise instructors should complete a risk assessment following COVID-19 guidelines from the government and EMD UK’s Return to Play guidance.

The term ‘children’ is used here to cover children and young people up to the age of 18.

Government guidance states that activities with young people can start, provided there are no more than 15 children per group or ‘bubble’. Where possible, the groups should be smaller.

To ensure that participants remain safe, strict adherence to the following measures is required:

Class Capacity

  • Social distancing should be adhered to at all times. Instructors must allow 3m x 3m per participant.
  • Class numbers should be based on the capacity to allow 3m x 3m per participant in the exercise venue, with an absolute maximum of 15.
  • Children should be encouraged to stay in this area throughout the duration of the class.

Arriving and leaving a venue and venue considerations

  • Access rooms directly from outside where possible.
  • Consider one-way system or place a divider down the middle of the corridor to keep groups apart as they move through the venue where exercise spaces are accessed by corridors.
  • On venue arrival/departure, participants should socially distance 2 metres apart and wash their hands or use hand sanitiser.  Organise a drop off /collection zone for parents away from the class setting, where parents do not enter the studio/hall setting.
  • Ensure that toilets do not become crowded by limiting the number of children or young people who use the toilet facilities at one time.

During a class

  • Children should remain in the bubble they are allocated for that session and ideally over repeat attendance, though this may not be practical in some circumstances.
  • Children to be back-to-back or side-to-side (rather than face-to- face) whenever possible.
  • Reducing the number of people each child has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ so each child exercises with only a few others.
  • For parent and baby /toddler classes, one parent/ or carer per child can supervise their child within the 3m by 3m whilst following social distancing from other class attendees.
  • Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full in relation to a particular activity, organisations should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the provision to operate, and if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between staff, children and the community.
  • If you feel your youngest children would be unable to reasonably maintain social distancing, consider a) prioritising sessions with older children first for commencement, b) reducing number of children in each group.

Equipment during class

  • Consider how equipment is used ensuring it is appropriately cleaned between groups of children using it, and that multiple groups do not use it simultaneously.
  • Remove unnecessary equipment from class and other learning environments where there is space to store it elsewhere.
  • Remove soft furnishings, soft toys and toys that are hard to clean (such as those with intricate parts).


  • If allowing spectators would present challenges to maintaining decided capacity levels, consider prohibiting spectators until further notice. Chaperones for children may wait outside the premises/activity area in a socially distant manner or in their car
  • Ensure spectators on viewing platforms if allowed at the venue, follow government guidance for social gatherings and maintain social distancing preferably with marked viewing spaces.


  • Instructors should keep a register of all participants for 21 days in line with NHS Test and Trace guidelines.
  • Should any member of a bubble become unwell, all members of the bubble should be referred to NHS Test and Trace. All members of the bubble (including leaders/visitors) should also be suspended from attendance and requested to self-isolate in line with current COVID-19 guidance.