Coronavirus COVID-19 update

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To everyone involved with us at English in Totnes

We are open to face to face and online students now.

Current government regulations for travel to the UK (as at 11.02.22) - please note these points are for your guidance only; more information can be found on the government website.  

Travel to the UK- text per kind favour of English UK

Extremely welcome news for UK ELT and our colleagues in the travel industry as the government confirms the easing of the remaining Covid-19 testing requirements for fully-vaccinated passengers.

 

From 4am on 11 February:

  • All Covid testing requirements will be removed for eligible fully-vaccinated passengers

  • This also applies to ALL under-18s, irrespective of where they are travelling from or their vaccine status

  • 16 more countries will be added to the UK's approved vaccine list from 11 February, including China, Algeria, Guatemala, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico and Turkmenistan.

  • Adults not recognised as fully vaccinated under UK travel rules will only be required to take a pre-departure test and a Covid PCR test by day 2 after their arrival. They will no longer be required to quarantine unless this test is positive. 

  • The government also plans to introduce a simpler version of the Passenger Locator Form

 

These changes have been confirmed by all UK nations.

 

>> read the full guidance on GOV.UK

>> check the current list of approved vaccines and countries with approved programmes

From Thursday 27 January:

  • Face coverings will no longer be mandatory on public transport and in shops. However, their use is still recommended in crowded or enclosed spaces

  • Covid status passes will no longer be compulsory at public venues, although venues can still require them if they want to

  • It is also likely that the requirement to self-isolate for five or more days following a positive test for Covid will end on or before 24 March 2022, when the regulations lapse.

Checking your individual details of travel is your responsibility and English in Totnes cannot be held responsible for any problems with immigration en route.

Here are some of the ways in which we will be protecting our students, staff and host families once students arrive in Totnes:

In the school building:

  1. Common areas- we encourage everyone to use the automatic hand sanitiser before going upstairs.  Only one person can use the toilet at one time. We have a one way system in place on the stairs. Windows and doors are kept open throughout the building. We are not currently wearing masks in the classroom but this is your choice- you can wear a mask if you want to. We ask students to wear masks in common areas such as the office and the student lounge.

  2. Classrooms- we have fewer students than usual per classroom seated a minimum of 1m apart and all our resources are online so students need to bring a laptop or tablet with them. Hand sanitiser is available for students in every classroom and we ask them to use it when coming in and out. Stair banisters and door handles are sanitised every breaktime. At the end of class our teachers wipe down all the tables, backs of chairs and door handles before the next group arrives.

  3. We ask students and staff to do twice weekly lateral flow tests on a Wednesday and a Sunday. We have boxes of tests available in the office if students need them. If someone tests positive then they need to self-isolate for 7 days and only leave self-isolation 7 days after the date of their initial positive test if they receive 2 negative LFD results, 24 hours apart, on days 6 and 7.

In the host families:

  1. One student per family, unless they are travelling together.

  2. Common areas- we have asked homestays to clean and disinfect more frequently than usual and to maintain social distancing even at mealtimes.

  3. Possible self-isolation if students test positive for COVID-19 whilst staying in a host family - we ask our homestays to confirm in advance that they would be happy to isolate any student booked in with them if necessary. Students would join our face-to-face class online from the host family's home until the 10 days of quarantine were over and they could join the class in the Gate House.

  4. Possible extension of stay in homestay- we also ask that they would be happy to have the student to stay longer if either the student or the homestay had symptoms or COVID19 itself, in accordance with government guidelines. If the student was able to, they would continue with online lessons as in 4.

 

In the social programme:

  1. Transport- on foot if possible. On public transport, we insist on wearing masks and we hand sanitise before and after the journey, as well as keep strict social distancing. In our own vehicles, everyone wears masks, we travel with the windows open, we disinfect seats and seatbelts prior and after travel and we keep social distancing within the vehicle.

  2. Social and cultural activities- we take students on local walks, visit local pubs where we can sit outdoors, have fun activities in our school building and visit the beautiful scenery of Dartmoor National Park, the South Devon coast and seaside and our historic castles in Totnes and Berry Pomeroy.

 

This is what we are currently doing, but we are hoping that the situation may ease as vaccinations increase worldwide and the infection comes under control. Our default position is safety however!

 

If, having read this, you wish to discuss any aspect of this, please contact Margie, Rick or Amy at info@englishintotnes.com.

You can choose to stay with local host families offering half board standard  (single room, shared bathroom) or executive (single room, own bathroom) accommodation, or we can recommend one of the many excellent bed and breakfasts in the area. Our accommodation is all situated in Totnes, within walking distance (maximum 20 minutes) of our iconic school building in the Gate House, in the centre of the town. At lunchtime, you can step out of our building and into a High St offering excellent, independent small restaurants and cafes serving organic and locally sourced food a matter of minutes from the school.