It is important to note that this guidance is intended to be a living document to be updated as Government advice is updated. Youth organisations and groups should develop their own protocols in line with this high-level guidance.
On the 19 March 2020, generic youth services were stood down by the Minister for Education in line with school closures and in response to PHA guidance as a result of COVID-19. The Youth Service determined that it would prioritise and adapt existing services to support those most vulnerable; namely those who are at risk of paramilitary threat (START) and those young people who require additional support for their positive mental health (FLARE). Further to this, the Youth Service identified additional need and developed essential services based on feedback of children and young people and local communities including:
 Youth Online
 Stay Connected
 Eat Well Live Well Programme.
The EA Youth Service ‘normal’ management structure ceased with the introduction of C3 (Command, Control, Communicate) structures within EA. This initiated the stepping down of non-critical services and the stepping up of essential services to support vulnerable children and young people.
The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to youth organisations under ‘Education Restart’ in line with the Northern Ireland Executive’s 5 Step Pathway to Recovery.
The Education Authority Youth Service (EAYS) has worked with a range of stakeholders, both statutory and voluntary sector, for the phased re-introduction of youth service provision including:
 Children & Young People
 Youth Workers (Centre Based, Area Based and Detached)
 Youth Service Managers
 Trade Unions
The framework for this document is linked directly to the Education Authority’s vision to ‘Inspire, support and challenge all our children and young people to be the best that they can be’. Furthermore, this guidance is set within the values of the Education Authority as below:
 Openness – decisions are clear and well communicated
 Reflection – informed and guided by public health guidance and assessment of risk
 Respect – respects human dignity and autonomy
 Responsibility – uses the national government guidance and data
 Equality – supports and promotes the equal opportunity of access to services
 Excellence – sequential series of actions building upon positive progress made
Public Health Authority Guidance from the Northern Ireland Executive is the overarching guide. Based on a current review process, the Northern Ireland Executive’s Pathway to Recovery strategy indicates that restrictions will be unlocked in a five stepped process as outlined below:

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