Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday 10th May, we have extracted the information pertinent to UK Boarding Schools outlined in the UK’s Government plans to move us out of lockdown. Understandably, the plans are conditional upon infection rates which are still relatively high compared to other countries, so at the moment we still have uncertainty regarding the opening of schools and other key measures which will affect students and their families. Some of the key points are:

Schools 

The Government has said that the rate of infection is still too high to allow the reopening of schools for all pupils. Schools in England (not Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland) could start to return from 1st June with just 15 pupils in each class. This would involve a phased reopening beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6. Secondary schools should also prepare for some face to face contact with Year 10 and 12 who have key exams next year, as stated in the excerpt below from the document OUR PLAN TO REBUILD: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy:

“A phased return to schools. Schools should prepare to begin to open for more children from 1 June. The Government expects children to be able to return to early years settings, and for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to be back in school in smaller sizes, from this point. This aims to ensure that the youngest children, and those preparing for the transition to secondary school, have maximum time with their teachers. Secondary schools and further education colleges should also prepare to begin some face to face contact with Year 10 and 12 pupils who have key exams next year, in support of their continued remote, home learning. The Government’s ambition is for all primary school children to return to school before the summer for a month if feasible, though this will be kept under review. The Department of Education will engage closely with schools and early years providers to develop further detail and guidance on how schools should facilitate this.”

Travel 

The Government will require all international arrivals not on a short list of exemptions to self-isolate in their accommodation for 14 days on arrival in the UK and they will be required to demonstrate where they will self-isolate. Many Boadring Schools in England and the rest of the UK and guardianship companies are discussing how this could be managed and plans are in process. It may take some time for this to be agreed but we will communicate it to our families as soon as we receive them.

Face-coverings 

Some families might wish their children to wear masks if schools are open in September. Some pupils might be concerned that wearing a mask is not so common in the UK and they do not want the students to feel alienated. As the virus outbreak has developed more people in the UK are wearing masks now and especially in supermarkets and on public transport. In the document OUR PLAN TO REBUILD: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, the Government is advising people to wear masks in enclosed spaces and where social distancing is not possible. 

Excerpt from document: 

“As more people return to work, there will be more movement outside people’s immediate household. This increased mobility means the Government is now advising that people should aim to wear a face-covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible and they come into contact with others that they do not normally meet, for example on public transport or in some shops. Homemade cloth face-coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission in some circumstances. Face-coverings are not intended to help the wearer, but to protect against inadvertent transmission of the disease to others if you have it asymptomatically.

This information is accurate as of the 11th May 2020 and we will aim to publish any update as the outbreak develops and the Government´s advice adjusts accordingly.