Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Standing Guidance

The guidance for ringing in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland is considered separately here in line with different national rules and guidance from the respective Churches. Each country is working along its own roadmap for reducing restrictions and our roadmap is based on that. We are now at the stage of having very few restrictions imposed on us from on high, and so are in a period where we are considering our personal responsibility to our fellow ringers.

England

On 19 July, the ringing guidance changed to such a degree that ringing went back to as close to normal as have been since the start of the pandemic. That guidance, agreed with the House of Bishops Recovery Group, can be found here. Whilst the restrictions have largely been released, the Government is stressing personal responsibility, and our guidance contains some very specific considerations around the use of facemasks and the importance of ventilation in towers. There are no longer restrictions on how long you ring for, or with how many other people.

Talk by Phil Barnes on ventilation and Covid safety in towers
Scotland

The Scottish Association is now providing guidance to towers in Scotland and that advice can be found here.

Wales

Guidance for Wales has been updated following the move to Alert Level 0 and can be found here (PDF).

Ireland

Ringing is returning to towers in Ireland based on local interpretation of government guidance.


The Central Council is not itself responsible for the implementation of these guidance notes, and the spirit underpinning all your decision making should be one of reasonableness and responsibility, taking into account the public health messaging from local and national leaders at all times, and in consultation with Chapters/PCCs, incumbents and churchwardens.

This guidance is being constantly updated to keep in line with any changes in the Church’s own guidance and policies, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This website will be updated weekly on a Friday, whether or not there is a change in guidance, unless a more urgent update is necessary. Any requests for clarification can be sent to president@cccbr.org.uk – it will get looked at as soon as possible. 

Guidance Notes

These documents are intended to be succinct and easily readable. They do not contain all the detail that could be put in them but instead focus on the key issues.

Further detail about tower safety and risk assessments can be found on the Tower Operation tab here:
https://cccbr.org.uk/resources/stewardship-and-management/

Updates

A specific section of this website has been created below which gathers together information on ventilation and CO2 monitoring, including details of what CO2 monitors are recommended and some external research.

Any further data or information which may help others towers would be welcome.

Revised guidance for Wales has been published following the move to Alert Level 0 and can be found here (PDF).

Minor update to the guidance, now including a link to the Places of Worship guidance, clarifying that ‘vaccinated’ means having had two jabs (plus the two weeks) and that vaccination status isn’t relevant to the guidance that facemasks should still be worn in certain circumstances. Revised guidance (version 2.1) is linked in Guidance Notes.

Guidance for ringing in England post 19th July has been agreed today with the House of Bishops Recovery Group and can be found here. The Church of England’s own guidance for places of worship has yet to be published but we have seen the section on bellringing and it refers to the Central Council guidance.

There has been no change to guidance this week. Engand is in Stage 3 with the Rule of Six applying indoors.

Mindful of there being a lot of guidance and how things have changed in recent months, we have prepared a one page summary that considers each of the guidance topics and mitigation measures (facemasks, hand sanitiser, rope sharing, rule on numbers, length of time, etc), explains the rationale for it, and what it means for ringing in practice.

It is specific to England but Welsh and Scottish versions will be prepared.

There has been no change to guidance this week. Engand is in Stage 3 with the Rule of Six applying indoors.

Our guidance for this period suggests a limit of 45 minutes subject to 1m+ social distancing rules, hand sanitising, face coverings, lateral flow tests in certain circumstances, and good ventilation. Detailed guidance is here and no longer needs to be considered as draft.

Many have questioned whether the wearing of facemasks is necessary when whole bands have received their second jab. Wearing of facemasks in places of worship in England at least is the law. Government guidance on the wearing of facemasks can be found here (and it refers to other countries). It explicitly includes places of worship.

The exemption to the law most likely to be claimed by ringers is “if you are undertaking exercise or an activity and it would negatively impact your ability to do so.”

Bear in mind that wearing a facemask is for the protection of others, particularly the unvaccinated. Young ringers in particular will not have had the benefit of vaccination.

We have published our paper explaining the rationale for using CO2 monitoring as a way of determining whether towers are adequately ventilated and hence remain a safe space should virus levels rise again in the autumn. We have plenty of time to plan for this, so this will start the discussion and enable some towers to conduct some investigations. The paper, written by Dr David Pouncey, is included with the Guidance Notes here.

Meanwhile the England roadmap is approaching the next key milestone of 17 May when the Rule of Six applies indoors. Before then ringing is limited to handbell ringing outdoors, and young ringers’ groups who can ring following the ‘out of school settings’ guidance (see detail left).

Stage 3 – no earlier than 17 May

Rule of six indoors enables more ringing and our guidance suggest a limit of 45 minutes subject to 1m+ social distancing rules, hand sanitising, face coverings, lateral flow tests in certain circumstances, and good ventilation. Detailed draft guidance is here.

Guidance for ringers to assess their own risks has been updated for the current situation with the virus in the community and levels of vaccination. The guidance note “Is it appropriate for an individual to ring” should be read in conjunction with the draft 17 May guidance.

Stage 4 – no earlier than 21 June

All legal limits removed
(it remains to be seen whether facemasks will still be suggested or mandated – that is not absolutely clear yet)

The next release of lockdown restrictions in Wales has been accellerated to 3 May, when 15 are allowed to meet indoors. The guidance for England published in draft form last week as been adapted and agreed with the Church in Wales. It is published here.

The England roadmap is approaching the next key milestone of 17 May when the Rule of Six applies indoors. Before then ringing is limited to handbell ringing outdoors, and young ringers’ groups who can ring following the ‘out of school settings’ guidance (see detail left).

Stage 3 – no earlier than 17 May

Rule of six indoors enables more ringing and our guidance suggest a limit of 45 minutes subject to 1m+ social distancing rules, hand sanitising, face coverings, lateral flow tests in certain circumstances, and good ventilation. Detailed draft guidance is here.

Guidance for ringers to assess their own risks has been updated for the current situation with the virus in the community and levels of vaccination. The guidance note “Is it appropriate for an individual to ring” should be read in conjunction with the draft 17 May guidance.

Stage 4 – no earlier than 21 June

All legal limits removed
(it remains to be seen whether facemasks will still be suggested or mandated – that is not absolutely clear yet)


Ventilation and CO2 Monitoring

Guidance Notes

Independent Research

External articles:

  • John Harrison’s paper.
  • You Tube video on fan placement
    (not terribly scientific but quite interesting)
  • HSE guidance on using CO2 monitors to identify poorly ventilated spaces

CO2 Monitors

We have received frequent requests for advice about CO2 monitors. Availability on the internet fluctuates: several makes are currently (21/8/21) available online, but the government’s decision to fund them for all English schools may affect this. Prices have greatly increased in the last few weeks unfortunately.

It is vital that any monitor should be of the NDIR type*. For recording values (rather than just having a display), look for a monitor that, as well as a real time display, has a USB or PDF output (not just a USB connection for calibration). Their high cost suggests that you may wish to consider sharing them between towers, or purchasing as Branch, Association or Guild resource.


Models that have been recommended are
Aranet4
Curconsa CO2 Meter**
Dracal Pico CO2 (NB ships from Canada and needs laptop)

* On why NDIR is important: “Equivalent CO2 sensors (eCO2 sensors) should not be used. These devices only measure volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and estimate CO2 concentration based on the concentration of VOCs in the air. They do not directly measure indoor CO2 concentration.” CIBSE Ventilation Document https://www.cibse.org/emerging-from-lockdown

** Beware of possible fake Curconsa meters being sold on Amazon at significantly lower prices to the real thing. A model called an MCH3 and supplied by TWSOUL is a fake, is not manufactured by Curconsa despite claiming to be, and may not use the all important NDIR technology.


Additional Guidance

  • The UK Government guidance for the safe use of places of worship during the pandemic can be found via this link

Useful Links

The latest guidance from the Church of England is available on their website.

The latest guidance from the Church in Wales is available on their website

The latest guidance from the Scottish Episcopal Church is available on their website

The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy

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