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Covid-19 Pledge of Care and Support

 

WHG are committed to caring for our students and helping to manage their arrival/departure and ongoing care while studying in the UK. To do this effectively, working with schools and following government guidelines and advice from Public Health England (PHE) is essential.

We pledge to do our utmost to support you and to do this, we have put together this comprehensive guide of what to expect from your arrival in the UK. Guidelines are changing as we manage life through the pandemic so if there are any changes to this guide, we will notify you. 

Life in the UK

For those students returning to the UK, you will notice some differences to how we live, work and study but they should not be too similar to the changes you have been living with in your own country. Social distancing and good personal hygiene are two of the key factors in controlling the spread of Coronavirus.

The UK Government has released guidelines on how to manage this in a residential setting such as a boarding school and schools have put together their own ways of managing the safe return of students having already re-opened in June 2020 to a limited number of year groups and then fully in September 2020

Travel to and from the UK

Flights to and from the UK have increased and we hope that you are able to book your arrivals and departures with good availability. Once you arrive, as usual, we are able to organise your airport transfers, if this is not done by your boarding school. For students on our State School Programme, your transfers are included as usual.

We have been in contact with all our partner private hire drivers who have confirmed that they are operating and following strict guidelines to keep passengers safe. This includes wearing face masks and vehicles being completely sanitized before each journey. 

It is now mandatory for all travellers to the UK to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of flying. A certificate of a negative test must be presented before being allowed to fly. Please check with your airline for the most up to date requirements of travel as they may vary slightly from carrier to carrier.

Each passenger will have to fill out a Passenger Locator Form which asks where you will be isolating for the 10 days quarantine required by the UK government. Isolation must be spent in one place and this can be done in a WHG host family.

From 08/03/21, passengers leaving the UK will need to fill out a declaration to state their reason for travelling and it must be on the permitted travel list. As our students are travelling for education, it is permitted. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-declaration-form-for-international-travel

Education

For academic studies or professional qualifications where physical presence is required or where activities must be completed overseas. This includes international students returning home.

Testing

Departure Testing

WHG have successfully assisted many of students with COVID testing. Most of our students depart from Heathrow airport and the testing facility organised by Collinson at Terminal 2 & 5 has been efficient, low-cost and successful.

Please be mindful of the type of test that is needed by the government of the country you are travelling to. If a PCR test is needed, this can take a few days to process from the time the test is taken, so cannot be done at the airport on the day of departure like a Rapid LAMP test. The choice of testing centre is also important. For example, travellers to Hong Kong must get a test from a laboratory that has an ISO15189 accreditation and the paperwork to support this.

There are a lot of private clinics offering ‘Fit to Fly’ certificates across the UK, but there are a noticeable number who may not have this accreditation or use a third party which might not be accepted and delay your travel plans.

Please contact us for more details on testing. For testing on arrival, please see below.

Quarantine

The UK has a green, amber and red traffic light system to determine if and where you need to quarantine upon arrival.

Arrivals from the GREEN list do not need to quarantine

Arrivals from the AMBER list must quarantine for 10 days at an address of their choice – this can be done in a WHG host family or school

Arrivals from the RED list must pre-book a hotel quarantine package from the government website.

Countries will change between GREEN / AMBER and RED so please regularly check on the government website - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-amber-and-green-list-rules-for-entering-england

Do please consult with your Local Guardian about travel plans to the UK so that quarantine placements can be identified in good time before inbound flights are booked. All passengers will need to identify their UK quarantine location on the Passenger Locator Form before any travel to the UK.

Testing while in quarantine

While in quarantine, you must have two further PCR tests in addition to your test before flying to the UK. One test on day 2 and another on day 8.

Tests must be booked before you travel through the UK Government Portal via this link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-quarantine-when-you-arrive-in-england

From the 15th of December 2020, the UK Government have launched a ‘Test and Release’ programme. You will be able to end your quarantine earlier than the required 10 days if you test negative through one of the government's approved facilities. To do this, please follow this link:

UK Government List of Coronavirus Test Providers

You will need to opt-in to the scheme on the Private Test Provider and book a test with a passenger locator form, before you arrive in the UK. The passenger locator for is available by going to this webpage:

https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk

More information can be found at the following site but please note, Test and Release does not reduce the additional tests required on day 2 or day 8 during quarantine.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-test-to-release-for-international-travel

Please contact us if you need support in arranging quarantine.

 

Host Families

During the rise of the pandemic and spread in the UK, WHG was not able to offer host family accommodation if a student was in boarding and showed symptoms of Coronavirus.

UK Government guidelines were that a boarding house was classed as a household and if someone showed symptoms such as a high temperature or new and persistent cough, the whole boarding house would have to isolate for 10-days. 

For students who lived long-term with one of our host families, the same rules applied. If someone in the house showed symptoms, the whole household would have to isolate for 10 days.

For this reason, our host families are unable to take students in who show symptoms of Coronavirus but if they are already hosting a student, the host family must commit to hosting them and isolating with them which has happened successfully on two occasion so far during the October 2020 Half-Term.

We have a duty to protect our students and our host families, so any family over the age of 70 or if anyone has underlying health conditions considered sensitive to Covid-19, they would be unable to host unless they wish to and have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Your Local Guardian

Your Local Guardian may not be able to visit you when you first arrive in the UK but rest assured, we will make contact with you when you arrive and when possible, we will visit you.

Social distancing might change the way we can visit students in schools but our support can remain the same. You can and will be able to rely on your Local Guardian to make arrangements for you such as airport transfers, buying sim cards or sports equipment. So please do let us know if you need assistance with anything before arriving or while you are here in the UK as most things can be arranged remotely.

 

Be Coronavirus Aware

We would like to share this link on Social Distancing in the UK and stopping the spread of Coronavirus. Although simple, these are the most effective ways to make sure that you and protecting yourself as well as others.

 

FAQ

When will my Local Guardian visit me?

It is unlikely schools will allow guardians to visit students in the first half of the term. Our guardianship includes a visit within the first few weeks of arriving followed by a report. The visit will have to be virtual by phone or messaging by email / WhatsApp and we will send a brief report to you once we have made contact.

What will WHG do is my child becomes unwell?

It is important first to find out their symptoms as not all illness is related and in need of the same reaction as Coronavirus.

If your child is displaying one or more of the symptoms linked to Coronavirus according to Public Health England,https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/

  1. If your child is in boarding school, we will liaise with the school to support them and your child according to the school’s policy. This would likely mean if possible, a period of isolation until a test for Covid-19 was undertaken. 
  2. If your child is in a homestay, we will liaise with the host family and as above, the family would have to isolate until a test has been carried out. 

How long does NHS testing take if I show symptoms?

A test must be taken within 5 days of showing symptoms so it is imperative we know as soon as you are feeling unwell. The UK Governments aim is to have a result from a test within 72 hours. 

How long does private testing take?

It depends on the clinic and laboratory. Most test are advertised from 24-72 hours to deliver results but these may change depending on demand and unforeseen delays by third parties. 

What happens if my Local Guardian becomes unwell?

Each Local Guardian has a deputy so that if they fall unwell, a second person is ready to take over until they are able to return to work. 

What to do when in Quarantine?

In host families, quarantine must be strict and follow the government guidelines as there are fines in place if the rules are broken. Meals will be delivered to rooms and there will be regular sanitising. It will be arranged for students to spend time outside but on the grounds of the property.

Here is a link to the UK Government Guidance on how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK: UK Government Website - How to self-isolate when you travel to the UK

What happens if my Local Guardian becomes unwell?

Each Local Guardian has a deputy so that if they fall unwell, a second person is ready to take over until they are able to return to work. 

Can I wear a face mask?

Face masks are now mandatory on public transport, in shops.

How would WHG react to a rise in infection?

In March 2020 November 2020 and from December 2020 until March 2021, there has been national lockdowns but looking forward, it is more likely that there would be local lockdowns if infection rates rise in certain areas. In this case, we will adhere to advice from the UK Government and following this while keeping parents informed of updates. The vaccination programme is the UK is going well with the majority of the adult population having at least one vaccination.

What happens if my school has a confirmed case of Coronavirus?

Each school will have measures in place to deal with this but will be guided by Public Health England. WHG will be there to support you and the school as much as possible while adhering to advice given by Public Health England. 

Are your host families kept up to date with advice?

Yes. Along with this document, we are sending advice to our host families on caring for our students under current conditions. These includes Public Health Advice on social distancing and how to stop the spread of infection:https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/social-distancing/what-you-need-to-do

 

White House Guardianships

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