The guidance for boarding school pupils with the right to reside in the UK who live in or are travelling through a red list country has changed with effect from 4th March. For those who do not have the right to reside in the UK the former guidance applies and hotel quarantine will still apply.
Boarding pupils from these countries no longer have to quarantine in government hotels, they can now quarantine at their schools in specially designated areas. Each pupil will have to be collected from the airport by a designated member of school staff. They will then travel back to the school in isolation, where they will then be able to quarantine on the school premises. Pupils arriving from ‘red countries’ will have to isolate for the full 10 days and will not be eligible for the test and early release scheme.
Schools will need to provide a copy of a letter from the Department for Education confirming that boarding school students are covered by an exception and also a letter from the school authorising their return. This letter will detail the arrangements for returning to school including the name of the person who will be collecting the pupil at the airport. This is in addition to the passenger locator form which will need to be completed with the details of where they will be quarantining. https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk
Before travelling all students must have a negative Covid test within 3 days of travelling. They will also have to pay to have tests on day 2 and day 8 of their quarantine. The test on day 2 is to check for any variants and on day 8 is to check that they are still covid free. This can be booked as a travel test package at a cost of £210. https://quarantinehotelbookings.ctmportal.co.uk
Once they arrive at the airport pupils will make their way to the managed quarantine collection point in the arrival hall where the member of staff will be waiting to collect them.
The transport to school needs to comply with social distancing arrangements, eg on a coach three rows of seats between students and the driver, a sitting plan will be produced for test and trace purposes, masks must be worn at all times and sanitiser will be available. There will be no options for stopping en route back to the school.
All ‘red country’ arrivals will be allowed to quarantine together in a covid secure ‘household’. Meals and toiletries will be provided and members of staff looking after the pupils will be suitably protected with PPE and will do regular lateral flow tests and a weekly PCR test.
Pupils will be able to arrive back at school in time to quarantine before school opens or if they can only return just before term begins, they will be able to continue their online learning from the boarding premises.
Schools and families will need to be in regular communication to ensure that all arrangements are clearly in place to ensure the smooth start to the new term.