Training during COVID
faqs for Starting your training
Can my parents still take me to Basic Training?
Yes, however COVID restrictions mean that they may not be able to leave the vehicle when you arrive. You will receive full guidance in your joining instructions and you can always check with your Candidate Support Manager to confirm any details.
I have been given a start date for training, what if I’m isolating at home because someone in my house has COVID-19 symptoms?
You will receive an electronic health questionnaire which asks specific questions in relation to this and will provide the required advice, depending on the answers you give to the questions. If, you, or someone else in your household develops symptoms, you should not travel, and you should call the point of contact you have been given. This is in line with Public Health England advice.
What will happen if I get signs and symptoms of COVID when I start training?
It is really important that if you develop any signs and symptoms of COVID, however mild, that you report this immediately to your Chain of Command / medical centre. This is important so that if you do have COVID-19, it does not spread to other people on the camp. If you develop any signs and symptoms of COVID, you should expect to be isolated in line with Public Health England guidance. You will be reviewed by a member of the medical team and if appropriate a test will be taken for COVID-19. Until the test result is received, you will remain in isolation. If you are isolated in the accommodation blocks regular checks will be done to make sure you are ok. You will have a means of contacting medical staff if required.
What will happen when I arrive start training?
On arrival, you will be asked again to confirm you have no signs and symptoms of the virus. You will then enter a ‘Controlled Monitoring Phase.’ This will begin with you receiving a detailed brief on the measures that have been implemented to decrease the risk of any virus transmission to as low as possible. 'Controlled Monitoring' means that you will be put into a new household with other new recruits and will do everything with them for the first 14 days, including sharing the same room. You will not mix with any other recruits from other 'new households' without following strict social distancing measures.
Will training staff also need to carry out the Controlled Monitoring Phase?
Permanent Staff will have been social distancing, as the recruits will have been. Whilst the Permanent Staff will not be staying on camp, they will be returning to a single household only. They will also complete the same electronic health questionnaire as recruits before they return to training and if any risk is perceived they will also be advised to stay at home for the period required. They will follow the same protection measures as recruits to ensure the risk of any transmission is as low as possible.
Will I be able to return home for leave?
You will still be able to return home for routine leave. In order to ensure a safe return to training after leave periods, you will be asked to complete an electronic health questionnaire 48hrs before you return to the workplace. On arrival you will be asked to confirm that you have no symptoms of the virus and will then re-enter a period of controlled monitoring. You will not however be able to go home for shorter period 48/72 hours, except in an emergency or for exceptional circumstances. This is because once you have completed your controlled monitoring, you will be a part of a new household and in line with Government guidelines your interaction with other households will be restricted.
Will I be able to leave camp?
You should expect to remain in camp throughout your training period, as access to shops and welfare facilities are available in barracks. Once in your new household you may be allowed to go off camp to certain shops; if this occurs, you will be accompanied by a member a member of the training staff.
How will training be different?
Various measures have been put in place to ensure the risk of any transmission to you is a low as possible. For example, you will be required to wash your hands more often, social distancing will be in place wherever possible, if you need to see the Doctor you will first be required to provide details of your symptoms electronically. All changes have been put in place to protect you as much as possible. You will also be provided with some additional Force Protection measures including Vitamin D, a Citriodiol spray (insect repellent) and antibacterial products.
What will my accommodation be like in Basic Training due to COVID?
If you are in shared accommodation, this will become known as your household. This is effectively your ‘bubble.’ Your household will be required to maintain strict Social Distancing between other households to ensure the risk of any COVID transmission is kept to as low as possible. Within your own household, wherever possible Social Distancing must be maintained.
Will I still have a passing out parade? Can my friends and family still attend?
On successful completion of training you will still have a passing out parade. Where the situation allows you will be able to invite your friends and family, but this may not always be possible. Whether you can invite guests and how many will be determined by the COIVD situation at the time of pass out. As this time approaches your training teams will advise if any guests are allowed and any specific guidance to follow.
I am due to join the Army Reserve. My training course is less than 14 days long. Will I still be able to attend my training?
You will need to contact your Candidate Support Manager. Attendance at short courses (less than 14-days) will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Army Reserve Basic training courses are considered a priority, but attendance will depend on the availability of single person accommodation. You will only be able to progress to training if single person accommodation is available.
I am due to attend a training course that is longer than 14 days, but shorter than 21 days long. Will I still be able to attend my training?
You will need to contact your Candidate Support Manager. Attendance on a course between 14-21 days in duration will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Basic training courses are considered high priority.
I am due to start Regular Army Basic training. Will my course still be running, and will I still be able to join?
Yes. For courses longer than 21-days in duration, including all Regular Army Basic Training, you will be able to start your training as planned. The length of the course allows a 2-week 'Controlled Monitoring' phase at the start of the course.
Testing at training
Will I be tested on arrival in training?
Yes. From Jan 21, the Army is testing all recruits for COVID using the Lateral Flow Test on the day they arrive at their respective training establishments. You will also be tested for COVID again seven days after you arrive.
How will the test be carried out?
When you arrive in barracks, you will be directed to the testing area where training staff will take you through the testing process. You will take your own test, whilst being observed by a member of the training staff. You will be required to swab one nostril and the back of your throat. The staff, who have been trained in how to administer the test, will talk you though the process to ensure you complete this correctly. Results will then be available within the hour, usually much less. You will remain in a holding area, maintaining Social Distancing, until you receive your result.
Once I have taken the test and I am negative what will happen?
You will be asked to confirm you have no symptoms of the virus. You will then enter a ‘Controlled Monitoring Phase’. This begins with you receiving a detailed brief on the measures we have implemented to decrease the risk of any virus transmission. 'Controlled Monitoring' means that you will be put into a household with other new recruits and will do everything with them for the first 14 days. You will not mix with recruits from other 'new households' and your training staff will always maintain 2m Social Distancing.
What will happen if I test positive?
If you test positive you will move to an isolation area. A member of the medical team will then take another swab from you to confirm that your positive result is a true positive. This swab will be sent to the laboratory and will take 24 – 48 hours to come back. You will remain in isolation until this confirmatory result is received. The reason for doing this follow up swab is because the Lateral Flow Test can occasionally give a positive result, when the individual is not COVID positive. Doing the second test gives confirmation that the result is correct. If the second test is negative, you will be released from isolation and join training.
What will it be like in ‘isolation’?
The Army will look after you in the isolation facilities at your barracks. The isolation facilities are secure, clean and comfortable. You will have access to your personal belongings and all your welfare needs will be met with meals brought to you. When in isolation you will be kept busy participating in virtual and other COVID appropriate training. This training is designed to get you back into training on completion of your isolation period. It also ensures that you have regular interaction with your training staff. Providing you are well at the end of this 10-day isolation period, you will rejoin your training section/platoon.
I am worried about missing training. Would I be able to defer my training entry?
We realise that it is a huge step to join the Army and you are likely to have given up jobs and accommodation as well as saying farewell to families and friends. That is why, wherever possible, your training team will work with you to complete that journey and successfully join the Army. They will do their utmost to ensure you do not miss out on too much training and are in a strong position to rejoin your section/platoon following a period of isolation. There may be situations where coming back for a later course is an option and your training staff will discuss this with you if needed.
Will testing allow relaxation of social distancing and other measures put in place to prevent the spread of the virus?
No. It is very important to note that the Lateral Flow Test is not 100% accurate and can provide false negative results. An individual could be carrying COVID but not have enough of the virus to test positive, at the time the test is taken. Testing will identify asymptomatic carriers that would otherwise have not been identified, it does not replace the need for social distancing and other Government measures which will prevent the spread of the virus.