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.
As of February 2022, mask wearing is only advised but most people wear masks in shops, on public transport and in large gatherings. If you need assistance purchasing masks, please contact your LG.
Travel to the UK
On the 18th of March 2022 at 4am, the UK Government removed the need to test, quarantine & fill out a pre-departure form for all travellers (Vaccinated and unvaccinated), traveling to the UK.
A range of precautionary measures will be kept in reserve, so the UK Government can take swift and proportionate action if needed to tackle new variants. However, this would only be done in extreme circumstances.
WHG have successfully assisted many of students with COVID testing. Most of our students depart from Heathrow airport and the testing facility 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. However, there are rapid PCR tests available near Heathrow airport with a turnaround of roughly 4 hours. 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.
It is unlikely that WHG is able to offer host family accommodation if a student is in boarding and shows symptoms of Coronavirus. We rely on the willingness of a host family to accommodate a student who has tested positive for Coronavirus. Our preference would be that a student remains in their current accommodation.
For students who test positive whilst in one of our host families, you must isolate with your host family.
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.
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/
- 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. However, we are unable to transport students who have tested positive to a host family, following the UK government guidelines. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1044530/Schools_guidance_Jan_22.pdf
- If your child is in a homestay, we will assist in arranging a COVID-19 PCR test. If positive, the student would have to isolate in the host family, following the current guidelines on isolation.
What happens if I have been in contact with someone who tests positive for COVID?
From Monday the 16th of August, there is no requirement to self-isolate if someone in the same household has COVID-19 and any of the following apply (boarding school students who share facilities are viewed as a household):
- you are fully vaccinated
- you are below the age of 18 years 6 months
- you have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
- you are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons
Fully vaccinated means that you have been vaccinated with an MHRA approved COVID-19 vaccine in the UK, and at least 14 days have passed since you received the recommended doses of that vaccine;
You are required to lat flow test for 5 days. WHG will advise and assist you through this. This applies to England.
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, but these tend to arrive sooner.
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 isolation?
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:-
Can I wear a face mask?
Face masks are now optional but advised on public transport & in shops. In educational settings, you will be guided by your school on this.
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 less likely that there would further lockdowns as the vaccination programme has stemmed the comparable rise in infections and hospital admissions. WHG 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 over 72% (3rd August 2021) of the adult population having had two doses of the vaccine.
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