Coronavirus COVID-19 update

To everyone involved with us at English in Totnes

English in Totnes has been continuing to teach online through the COVID-19 lockdown (while the Gate House building was closed). 

 

We are hoping to re-open the Gate House for face to face courses on 17th May 2021, provided that government regulations allow our students to travel to the UK. When we do open, we will be following very strict guidelines to provide a learning environment and experience which is as safe as possible for all concerned so what we have drawn up below may well change if government guidelines change before then.

Current government regulations for travel to the UK (as at 30.03.2021) - please note these points are for your guidance only; more information can be found on the government website.  Checking your individual details of travel is your responsibility and English in Totnes cannot be held responsible for any problems with immigration en route.

1. You cannot at the moment come into the UK if you are travelling from or have been through a country on the banned travel list. You can see which countries are on this 'red' list here.

 

2. If you are allowed to enter the UK, then before you come to England, you must:

  • book and pay in advance for a travel test package, which will include 2 coronavirus (COVID-19) tests to be taken on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of your quarantine. You will need a test package booking reference number for passenger locator form and may also need it for immigration on arrival.

  • provide your contact details by completing the online passenger locator form 48 hours before you travel

  • provide proof of a negative coronavirus test before you leave for the UK by taking a coronavirus (COVID-19) test and get a negative result and proof of it during the 3 days before you travel

 

You’ll be committing a criminal offence if you do not have proof of a negative test or you have not completed the passenger locator form. You may be fined. You may not be allowed to board. If you are not British or Irish, you may not be allowed to enter the UK.

3. When you arrive in England, you must either:

- quarantine in the place you’re staying (eg your host family or bed and breakfast) for 10 days if you have not come through a country on the 'red travel' list in the last 10 days. Here is the link for details on this

- or quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel for 10 days. Here is the link for details on this.

 

If you quarantine in one of our host families, you can book one of our transfers to get directly from the airport to the family or you can travel by public transport taking all necessary COVID precautions. You will then isolate yourself from the family who will provide you with food etc and you will have the sole use of bathroom facilities. You will need to follow the guidelines set out here. You will not be able to leave quarantine until you have received both a negative result from your day-8 test and quarantined for 10 days unless you do the Test to Release for international travel scheme.

4. Ending your quarantine early after 5 days: Test to Release scheme

You can use the Test to Release for international travel scheme. The scheme lets you choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test. If the result is negative, you can stop quarantining.

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 test everyone's temperature as they come into the building and encourage everyone to use the automatic hand sanitiser before going upstairs. We have social distance 2m markers in place through the school corridors, the office and the student common area. 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. Everyone wears masks in the common areas.

  2. Classrooms- we have one student per table, a minimum of 1.5 m 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.

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 on arrival if quarantine required - we ask our homestays to confirm in advance that they would be happy to isolate any student booked in with them who had to be in quarantine on arrival. Students would join our face-to-face class online from the host family's home until the 14 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!

 

Regarding arrival details at the UK border, we will send you this information as soon as we have it- we are told that non-essential international travel will start after 17th May and we will then be able to advise you about current government border regulations.

 

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

Please be climate aware and offset your flight by, for example, planting trees. Or travel by train (or other public transport) for a 10% discount on your course- discount refunded on presentation of your tickets on arrival at the school. Not applicable to pre-booked groups.

© 2020 English in Totnes