As I am sure you are all aware that the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to be a developing situation which we have been carefully following and planning for over the last few months.  We have recently provided suitable hosting arrangements for all students affected over the half term break.  Like many education providers including guardians and schools we are following closely all guidance provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), Public Health England (PHE) and the Boarding Schools Association (BSA) in conjunction with the Association for the Education and Guardianship of International Students (AEGIS).
As you will understand we are following the lead of the schools which your children are studying at and although these schools have minor differences in advice provided the key message is that those students who have been in an affected country or region will be required to be quarantined for 14 days. All schools are strongly advising parents of students from affected regions / countries not to return home for the Easter holidays. For the purpose of Guardians International’s policy towards COVID-19 the following countries are included:

  • Cambodia
  • China (Mainland)
  • Hong┬áKong
  • Italy (North)
  • Iran
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Laos
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Thailand
  • Singapore
  • Vietnam

Most recent advice from the UK Government see

Category 1: Travellers should self-isolate, even if asymptomatic, and call NHS 111 to inform of recent travel. Go home or to your destination and then self isolate.

Category 2: Travellers do not need to undertake any special measures, but if they develop symptoms they should self-isolate and call NHS 111.

The guidance for Italy, Iran, Daegu or Cheongdo (Republic of Korea), Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam applies to individuals who returned from these specific areas on or after 19 February 2020.

Category 1 countries/areasCategory 2 countries/areas
Wuhan city and Hubei Province (China, see map)Cambodia
Daegu or Cheongdo (Republic of Korea, see map)Hong Kong
Any Italian town under containment measures (see map)Italy: north* (see map)
Republic of Korea*

*Except areas of the country specifically referred to in Category 1.

If you have returned from any specified category 1 , you should call NHS111 and stay indoors and avoid contact with other people even if you do not have symptoms.

If you have arrived from a category 2 territory and develop symptoms:
– a cough
– a high temperature
– shortness of breath

Immediately call NHS 111 and self isolate keeping yourself away from people. Do not attempt to visit a Doctors surgery or Hospital Accident & Emergency Department.

But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.

Message to Schools:

  • Guardians International understand the need to protect school communities and we are working with all stakeholders to ensure that all students are looked after and their safety and well-being is at the centre of all we do.
  • We agree with schools decisions to advise parents and students not to travel to areas affected COVID-19 during the Easter holidays.
  • We appreciate the concerns schools have and the need to require students who have been to an affected area recently to undertake a period of 14 day quarantine prior to any return back to school.
  • Whilst Guardians International is supporting schools by offering hosting services and access to Easter Camps for students during the holidays, we cannot offer any form of quarantine accommodation for students returning from category 1 or 2 areas.
  • Our host families have made it clear that they will be unwilling to off any form of quarantine or self-isolation due to the risk of possible infection.
  • We have made it clear to our parents that if students arrive back in the UK, and cannot the parents will be responsible for arranging any quarantine or self isolation that may be required.
  • If students return to school and subsequently exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 our host families will not be able to provide accomodation for them prior to any intervention by the NHS, whether this is hospitalisation or otherwise. As per the BSA advice no host family is properly equipped to deal with such a situation and it is better that the school use a self isolation protocol prior to admission to hospital or parents making arrangements to take care of them.This is because our form of accommodation is in local host families who are not equipped or willing to take on a student who risks infecting them and the rest of their family and local community.

Message to Host Families:

  • Guardians International students that are going to host families have been in the UK since the beginning of Term (January) and pose no more risk than any other person who has been in the UK and not gone to an affected region. The current incubation period according to Public Health England is 14-days.
  • All of our partner schools have been very diligent in ensuring that no students pose a risk their own boarding communities and therefore the wider population at large. All students, parents and school visitors have either been strongly advised not to visit affected areas, or if they have are quarantined from that school for a period greater than the incubation period – 14 days.
  • No host family will be requested to host any students who have significant risk of exposure to COVID-19 or are show symptoms of the virus.

Message for Parent & Students:

  • We are advising students from affected countries to stay in the UK for their holidays until further notice. This is to avoid the 14 day quarantine period, symptom free required by schools.
  • Mosts are requiring that parents, friends or relatives from affected countries who want to visit students in the UK, should be here for at least for 14 days without symptoms prior to either visiting the school or spending time with students.
  • All visitors should check with their specific school to ensure they fully understand that school’s policy and requirements.
  • We are here to support both parents and students during this difficult and confusing period. Please contact your coordinator if you need further help or guidance.

For Students who are arriving in the UK/returning to the UK:

Our host families are not able to provide quarantine or self-isolation within accommodation as they are unwilling to risk of possible infection.

It is the responsibility of parents to arrange appropriate quarantine or self-isolation for students returning to the UK where schools require it. We strongly suggest parents contact schools regularly and follow all communications from their child(ren)’s school as the requirements are changing regularly.

Other than Category 1 areas there are no travel restrictions on travel from other areas. Therefore, if a student is accompanied by or has access to a responsible adult or parent (generally over 25) they may stay in their own accommodation e.g. home, hotel, rental.

If there is a school closure:

It is expected that is a school closes for a prolonged period, students without symptoms students will be expected to:
1. go back home;
2. for parents to come to the UK and look after them;
3. be looked after by another responsible adult e.g. relative or close family friend who needs to be over 25 years old.

Guardians International will provide all appropriate assistance to support both the school and students as long as this does not place our staff or host families at risk.