The health and safety of members of the debating community is the TDU's highest priority. In order to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission during debating evenings, and to ensure that all students can participate safely in debating, the following measures will be in place during the 2022 Schools Competition.

Requirements for entry to debating evenings

All attendees at debating must have received at least two doses of a vaccine against COVID-19 and must provide proof of vaccination on entry. (This requirement does not apply to children under five years old.) Additionally, attendees will be required to wear masks at all times. Debaters may remove their masks to deliver speeches, adjudicators may remove their masks to deliver debate results, and all attendees may briefly remove their masks to drink, but masks may not be removed at any other times. (This means, for example, that masks must be worn during preparation for short preparation debates and while offering Points of Information.)

Please also do not attend debating if you:

  • have COVID-19 or are a close contact of a confirmed case;
  • are experiencing cold- or flulike symptoms; or
  • have been directed to quarantine by public health officials.

Any person who does not comply with these conditions will not be permitted to enter the host school.

Virtual debates

If debaters cannot attend debating due to the entry requirements above, or do not feel safe or comfortable attending an evening of debating in person, the TDU will arrange for their debates to take place via Zoom. We ask that coaches notify the Competition coordinators of any requests to hold debates virtually as early as practicable and no later than midday on the day of the debate, unless exceptional circumstances apply.

Please note that if debaters have contracted COVID-19 and are not well enough to participate in debating, we do not expect them to attend via Zoom and can arrange a postponement. Similarly, if debaters are isolating and do not have access to the technology required to participate in a debate via Zoom, their debates may be postponed. However, if teams cannot attend in person but are able to field a team via Zoom, simply preferring to debate in person will not ordinarily be grounds for postponement.

Contact tracing

You must notify the TDU if:

  • you take a COVID-19 test within 48 hours of attending debating, and the result, regardless of when you receive it, is positive; or
  • you take a COVID-19 test more than 48 hours after attending debating, and the result is positive, if you first developed symptoms within 48 hours of attending debating.

So that we can notify attendees of possible exposure to COVID-19, all attendees at debating evenings must check in and provide their first name and email address on arrival. Attendees will then be notified by email of any COVID-19 cases present in the debates they attended. Notifications will not include identifying details about the COVID-19 case.

Limits to audience sizes

To allow for social distancing in debating rooms and to comply with limits to gathering sizes, audience sizes will be limited to five audience members per team. Teams can divide this quota in whatever manner they choose, but must do so themselves. The TDU will not be able to assist in resolving any disagreements as to attendance at debates.

Maintaining hygiene

All attendees at debating, including audience members, will be asked to sanitise their hands upon arrival at host schools and again when entering individual debate rooms. Additionally, schools will not provide supper.

Physical distancing

All attendees at debating will be required to comply with physical distancing standards, maintaining a distance of at least 1.5m from each other at all times. Debating rooms will be set up to allow for this.

Please contact Kathryn Ellis at if you have any questions or concerns about this plan.