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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) guidance update as of 27.04.20
27th April 2020

This week’s Covid-19 communication covers:

  1. New update as of 27.04.20
  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.


A.1: What has changed
In practical terms, very little has changed since last week in the UK and, although the Prime Minister resumes work today no immediate changes to policy are expected before the next review on May 08. Internationally, some countries are beginning to reopen schools. For those planning for future reopening, much attention is now focusing on how this might be achieved, and what challenges there would be. Although the restrictions in the UK remain the same, many other countries are partially lifting their “lockdown”. Last week, the Scottish government published guidance on looking beyond lockdown, click here to view this.

There remains much speculation about a UK lockdown exit strategy, but no confirmed thoughts from the UK Government as yet. Last week the UK had 16,060 reported hospital deaths, and this has risen to 20,732 by this morning (April 27), indicating that the rate of increase has plateaued. WHO figures indicate that the world is approaching 200,000 deaths and that 90% of daily deaths are currently within Europe and the USA.

A.2: Contingency for schools restarting and for reopening boarding

BSA has remained in regular contact with the UK Government, but there are no indications of a proposed “restart” date. BSA considers it is imperative for all members which currently remain closed, or open only for vulnerable children and those of key workers, to begin making plans for reopening, as this cannot be achieved quickly. Even if schools reopen, there will be very different logistics for boarding houses, particularly if there is phased or staged reopening, and if social distancing rules remain. 

BSA has prepared a checklist for schools of matters to consider prior to reopening boarding. It is intended that member schools should tailor the checklist to suit their own circumstances, and is provided on the understanding that BSA makes no comment or assumption regarding the timescale being considered by the UK and other Governments, or any specific requirements for schools if and when schools do reopen. To download the checklist, click here.

Please continue to contact bsa@boarding.org.uk with any particular thoughts and viewpoints you feel need to be considered, and these can then be reflected in our checklist and in conversations with Ministers and other Government officials.

A.3: New UK Guidance

On April 24, the UK Government issued guidance on managing schools which remain partially open during the coronavirus outbreak, please visit: Managing School Premises. See Section A6 for details of other updates

A.4: Tier 4 duties
A reminder that the UK Government last week issued updated guidance for Tier 2, Tier 4 and Tier 5 sponsors. In particular this highlights:

2.2) New international students who have not yet applied for a visa but want to start a course by distance learning do not require sponsorship under Tier 4. This is because they do not need to travel to the UK. Sponsors do not need to tell the Home Office when students have moved to distance learning. These arrangements will apply until 31 May, when they will be reviewed.

2.34) Any sponsor which is currently sponsoring a child student (aged under 18) has a continuing duty of care to that child student, even if they have stopped studying, while the child remains under its sponsorship and is in the UK. The child safeguarding duties set out in Document 2 of the Tier 4 Guidance for Sponsors continue to apply.

A.5: Pupils from mainland China
In previous Covid newsletters, BSA has highlighted the successful partnership with InterGreat Education Group to arrange flights home for pupils from mainland China.  Today InterGreat has shared the following update:

“Thus far, in partnership with the BSA and the Chinese Embassy, InterGreat has arranged 5 flights and facilitated the homeward journey of 292 students. We have also delivered 271 health packs supplied by the embassy to young Chinese students staying at schools or with boarding families, relatives and family friends across the UK. We would like to thank our partners at the Chinese Embassy and BSA for working with us to help our international community during these trying times.”

In return, and on behalf of the UK boarding community, BSA wishes to record our sincere thanks to the team at InterGreat for their fantastic effort and are proud to call them #BSAheroes. 

As ever, if colleagues have particular matters, concerns or information to share with BSA relating to pupils from other countries, please email us at bsa@boarding.org.uk.

A.6: Updated and previous guidance
A reminder that the following guidance was updated over Easter:

The Scottish Government issued the following:

The Welsh Government advice is below:

In England, the Department for Education produced updated safeguarding guidance on March 27, and BSA has subsequently received some advice from our online safety expert Karl Hopwood, who has interpreted parts of the guidance relating to online safety and distance learning. Karl’s advice sheet can be found on the BSA website. In addition to Karl’s guidance, there is further information on the SWGfL website and for ISBA members in their members' area.

A.7: Accommodation for NHS workers, community support and #BSAheroes
BSA offers sincere thanks to all members who have informed us of their generous offers of accommodation for use by NHS workers. As at 4pm, Friday, 24 April, 75 members had offered a total of 10,673 beds. BSA has been reporting these to the government each day.

If you wish to be part of this brilliant campaign please could we ask you to follow the instructions:

If you are able, please could you help ensure that our NHS workers can continue to do their life-saving work and to show the boarding sector is playing its part in the effort to defeat this dreadful disease.

BSA is also aware that many member schools are working hard to provide facilities to the local community and many others are using school equipment to manufacture PPE for health care staff. Whatever your school is doing, BSA is very grateful for your ongoing commitment.

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.

A.8: Regional guidance
Guidance from the devolved administrations and from Ireland is regularly updated, and the main pages for each country are below:

A.9: IICSA
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in England has updated its 'Child Sexual Abuse in Residential Schools' hearing dates from May to November 16-27. Please click here to view the full timetable.


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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