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News Article CONTACT THE BSA
Coronavirus Guidance as at 06.07.2020
6th July 2020

This week’s Covid-19 communication covers:

  1. New update as of 06.07.20
  2. Links to previous advice.

As ever the update is issued by BSA in conjunction with our partners BAISIS and ISC. BSA reminds all schools that it is not a medical, statutory or legal authority and any advice is given on that basis.

 

This is the first of our shorter summer briefings.  The next will be published on July 20, 2020.

A.1: What has changed
The rate of increase in worldwide cases continues to accelerate, with over a million new cases in the last week. The areas of concern remain the same, namely India, USA, South Africa and most of South America, with continuing issues in the Middle East and in Africa. Elsewhere many countries have been dealing with localised lockdowns, including in Australia and South Korea. Generally, however, the figures relating to these situations are significantly lower that the current daily increases in countries such as the UK.

The much-anticipated change to guidance on quarantine was issued in England and takes effect this Friday.  It is not yet clear if the devolved administrations will completely follow the same rules.  What was not perhaps foreseen is that visiting any country which is not on the list of exemptions within the previous 14 day period will still require quarantine.  Therefore someone travelling from Portugal via Spain will not be exempt if they left Portugal within the last two weeks, for example.

The full list of countries contains many which will be helpful to UK schools wishing to welcome back international boarders. It includes most of Europe, and also some countries in Asia and Australasia, including Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Australia, and New Zealand. It does NOT currently include Sweden or Portugal, nor several countries which have much lower rates of infection than the UK, such as Thailand, Malaysia, and most notably China. The list is likely to change, but it seems very likely that at least some pupils will continue to face quarantine when they return. The full list is available here, and BSA advises checking regularly for amendments or updates. Those from the Common Travel Area (Ireland, Isle of Man, Channel Islands) remain exempt., as do British Overseas Territories.

The UK has also reviewed travel advice for outgoing travellers, and the list is not the same. It is also worth noting that some countries from which travel to the UK is allowed are not currently allowing travel in return, or will require quarantine on arrival. Although this may well have eased before the first main holiday, this will be a concern to some parents and pupils of course. The full list is available here and does include Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore.

A.2 Guidance on the return to school in England.
DfE last week published the guidance for England for the return to school in September. There were relatively few mentions of boarding, with the most important being:

  • In paragraph seven on isolation, it mentions that most children will benefit from self-isolation in their boarding house, although it is acceptable to isolate in the family home. The guidance on isolation for residential school settings is referenced
  • There are also some helpful clarifications on groupings of pupils. Whereas the guidance advocates maintaining distinct bubbles, it also accepts that it might be necessary to mix the groupings, with boarding pupils being “in one group residentially and one during the school day”. This guidance will also help those schools which have significant “house” systems (as many boarding schools do), vertical tutor systems or where day pupils routinely have access to boarding buildings. However, BSA advocates following the spirit of the guidance by “limiting the number of pupils and staff in contact with each other”. Please click here to read the full guidance.

Also issued recently are the new version of Keeping Children Safe in Education for September 2020. Colleagues at HCR Law have issued a briefing note about the changes.

Safer Recruitment Consortium issued an update to the Guidance on Safer Working Practice relating to the current situation which might also help with plans for reopening.

There have also been two updates relating to online learning:

 

A.3: Return to school: Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
With none of the administrations anticipating a full return until August, it is likely there will be updates in the coming weeks.

In Scotland, schools can begin to reopen from August 11.  The guidance is available here, and links to the residential school guidance which references both SCIS and BSA

Schools in Wales were able to accept some pupils from June 29, but most BSA members are not planning to reopen before September. Updates to guidance for Wales will be available on the gov.wales website.

In Northern Ireland schools will reopen for Primary 7 and Years 12 and 14 on August 24. The advice is available here.

A.4: COVID-Safe Charter
Well over 200 schools have now adopted BSA COVID-SAFE CHARTER. The list of those who have done so is on the BSA Covid 19 page, and is regularly updated. Any school which has decided to adopt the Charter, but which does not appear on the list should please contact chris@boarding.org.uk. There is also a logo to accompany the Charter, and BSA advocates using the logo as a button which is linked to the full document. 

BSA has also produced a template letter to which schools may add their own logo and details as appropriate, which international pupils can use as a way of demonstrating that they are travelling back to a BSA member school. 

A version of the Charter will shortly be available for guardians, and translations are now available in Chinese, Russian, German and Arabic, the latter with grateful thanks to the Swiss International Scientific School of Dubai.

A.5: BSA Checklist and BSA COVID Supplier list
The BSA CHECKLIST FOR REOPENING BOARDING is still available for all member schools worldwide to use and adapt to their own circumstances. All relevant COVID advice and guidance is available on the BSA website. A number of schools have queried the best care for school uniforms. School Blazer has kindly produced a guidance document for members. 

BSA has a list of suppliers of vital equipment on our website, and the list continues to grow. BSA does not officially endorse any of the products listed, and schools are urged to perform their own due diligence checks on any company they plan to approach:

For more detail on each of the suppliers, please visit the BSA COVID supplier page here.

A.6: #BSAheroes
Please continue to send good news stories to us at bsa@boarding.org.uk and nominate anyone worthy of a special mention by using the hashtag #BSAheroes

 

B. Links to previous BSA advice

If you would like further advice from the BSA, please email bsa@boarding.org.uk.

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