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2021/22 Updated AEGIS Covid-19 Safe Charter

By Aegis UK October 4, 2021

This Charter serves to advise schools, overseas parents and agents on arrangements and guidance for supporting international students. AEGIS has sought advice from the Department for Education and follows Public Health guidance on the UK government website.

Guardianship organisations that have adopted the AEGIS Covid-19 Safe Charter confirm that they will comply with government and Public Health guidance whilst supporting international students in the UK.

UPDATE: Self-isolation guidance to be followed when an international boarder tests positive or shows symptoms

Please note that guidance remains the same: wherever an international boarder tests positive/shows symptoms is where they should self-isolate e.g., if at school, they self-isolate at school; and if in a homestay, they self-isolate at the homestay.  There are, however, likely to be exceptions.
Guidelines for schools can be found within the Schools Covid-19 Operational Guidance
AEGIS guardianship organisations commit to our charter. Should a student become symptomatic or fall ill with Covid-19 whilst at a homestay, their care would continue and they would self-isolate in the home. All homestays hosting, at this time, have agreed to this. Symptomatic/Covid-positive children would not be sent back to school.

Choosing an AEGIS accredited guardian

We recommend that overseas parents familiarise themselves with the rigorous inspection process undertaken by AEGIS guardianship organisations. AEGIS accredited guardianship organisations are professional, fully insured, trained in safeguarding and offer 24/7 emergency assistance. Without exception, AEGIS accredited guardianship organisations are committed to assisting schools and parents in the safe return of students and continued support of students.

Travel to the UK & Testing

AEGIS accredited guardianship organisations support parents with travel arrangements and provide assistance on arrival 24/7. 
The guardian will ensure that the student or parent completes the online Passenger Locator Form via the link below below before arrival in the UK. The form cannot be submitted until 48 hours before arrival in the UK. The student will need to carry a copy of the completed form with them and the form will be required on arrival at the UK border, either a printed version, or a copy on a mobile phone.
https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk
Guardians will ensure students also travel with the standard Permission to Travel Letter, as per Appendix 11 of the AEGIS Inspection Handbook & Quality Standards.
When travelling to the UK, what is required in terms of Covid-19 testing and quarantine depends on where that person has been in the 10 days before arrival. PLEASE CHECK WITH THE AIRLINE DIRECTLY ABOUT TESTING REQUIREMENTS BEFORE TRAVEL TO ENSURE ALL NECESSARY TESTS ARE BOOKED IN ADVANCE.
For further details please visit: https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control
Test to Release (available in England only): https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-test-to-release-for-international-travel
Rules for travelling to:
England: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-to-england-from-another-country-during-coronavirus-covid-19
Wales: https://gov.wales/rules-foreign-travel-and-wales-coronavirus-covid-19-html
Scotland: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-international-travel-quarantine/pages/red-amber-and-green-list-countries/
Northern Ireland: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-international-travel-advice

Quarantine

AEGIS guardians will follow government guidelines on self-isolation and ensure that parents and students understand the requirements.
From Monday 4 October 2021, the UK’s new travel system came into force with countries and territories categorised as either red or the rest of the world.
The new simplified travel system means that eligible fully vaccinated passengers and eligible under-18s from over 50 countries and territories not on the red list, can do so without needing to complete a pre-departure test (PDT), a day 8 test or enter a 10-day self-isolation period, making it easier for those travelling – whether that’s to see friends and family, or on business trips.

Full guidance available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-to-england-from-another-country-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Red List Countries

British and Irish Nationals, or third country nationals with residence rights in the UK are able to enter the UK if they have been in or transited through a ‘red list’ country in the last 10 days. Residence rights includes those with an entry clearance/visa that grants such leave e.g. child/student visas, holders of existing leave to enter or remain e.g. those students with biometric residence permits, and holders of EU Settlement Scheme (“EUSS”) leave.
Boarders (under the age of 18 years) from red list countries are able to quarantine at boarding school.
Guidance for boarders arriving from Red List countries allowing boarders to quarantine at school:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/unaccompanied-minors-arriving-from-a-red-list-country-to-attend-boarding-school?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_source=e71c8334-2088-4e8d-bf1f-cb066ff2da62&utm_content=immediately
England https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/966528/Boarding_school_students_from_red_list_countries_quarantine_arrangements.pdf
For Red List countries please see: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-list-of-countries-and-territories
The Test to Release scheme cannot be used by students travelling from red list countries.
Scotland: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-public-health-checks-at-borders/pages/self-isolation/
/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-international-travel-quarantine/pages/sectoral-exemptions/
Wales: https://gov.wales/boarding-schools-guidance-isolation-arrangements-students-arriving-red-list-countries-html
https://gov.wales/how-self-isolate-when-you-travel-wales-coronavirus-covid-19
Northern Ireland: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-international-travel-advice
Note that students travelling from or through red list countries should never quarantine with students travelling from non-red list countries.
Please note that unaccompanied stays in hotels are not advised.


Safe travel arrangements in the UK

We recommend that parents choose an AEGIS accredited guardianship organisation to organise airport transfers with drivers who are screened and experienced in transporting international students. They also adhere to social distancing and hygiene standards. 
The guardian is to ensure that:
– There is a named, safe adult to meet the child and comply with any social distancing guidelines at that time and follow strict hygiene procedures. The named person will have a face covering and sanitiser hand wash. A spare face covering should also be carried for the child being collected whilst at the airport or point of entry and whilst in the transport.
– The transport to the school is a direct route without detours.
– The transport has enough sanitiser, wipes and spare face coverings. Should there be any toilet stops relevant guidelines must be followed.
– A welcome pack with snacks and drinks is made available within the transport. The packets etc will need sanitising in advance.
– The student is encouraged to contact home shortly after arrival in the country and when arriving at school.
– They keep in contact regularly with the child and reinforce that they are there to listen to the child’s voice and any concerns that they have.


Students returning to their home countries

Several countries have banned or limited UK travel meaning some students will be unable to return to their home country.  For individual country guidance please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

If boarding students display COVID-19 symptoms whilst at school

AEGIS accredited guardianship organisations follow Public Health and government guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection
Host families and educational guardians are generally not in a position to take over the care of students who display symptoms or test positive for COVID at boarding school. Government advice, through Public Health, and that of the Safe Schools UK and BSA Charter, is that boarding schools provide isolation for international boarders on school premises.
The following guidelines can be found at point 4 – Follow public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the document: Schools Covid-19 Operational Guidance:
When an individual develops COVID-19 symptoms or has a positive test
Pupils, staff and other adults should follow public health advice on when to self-isolate and what to do. They should not come into school if they have symptoms, have had a positive test result or other reasons requiring them to stay at home due to the risk of them passing on COVID-19 (for example, they are required to quarantine).
If anyone in your school develops COVID-19 symptoms, however mild, you should send them home and they should follow public health advice.
If a pupil in a boarding school shows symptoms, they should usually self-isolate in their residential setting so that their usual support can continue, others may then benefit from self-isolating in their family home.
For everyone with symptoms, they should avoid using public transport and, wherever possible, be collected by a member of their family or household.”

The guidance has not made the second part of this statement as clear as we would like and has caused digressions in its interpretation. At AEGIS we read this as all best efforts for the boarder to remain at school rather than moving a symptomatic boarder into a host family.


In the event of school closure 

Where schools are unable to keep their boarding houses open, AEGIS guardians will provide homestay accommodation for negative tested, asymptomatic students.
If there is a school closure and students are symptomatic and/or awaiting test results for COVID-19, guardians are unable to accommodate them due to the risk to the host family and wider community. Any such student will need to remain within the school’s isolation provision until they receive a negative test result; at which point they will then be accommodated by their guardian.
If a student develops symptoms after being placed in a homestay and the school is closed, the guardian will instigate the proper testing and isolation procedures and accommodate the student until they are given the all-clear.
Guidance on self-isolation:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection
How to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) – GOV.UK (ww.gov.uk)

Current Guidance for Schools

England: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-covid-19-operational-guidance

Scotland:  https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-reducing-the-risks-in-schools/

Wales: https://gov.wales/operational-guidance-schools-and-settings

Northern Ireland: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-schools-colleges-and-universities


Hosting of international students FAQs

Please note that Public Health England has advised carrying out an individual risk assessment and discussion with homestays regarding any hosting arrangements. Hosting arrangements would need to be compliant with any current local guidance for households which might vary depending on local incidence levels. International students are classed as part of the household bubble.

Can guardians arrange homestay accommodation for healthy students during school holidays?

Unless the student was a confirmed case or contact of a confirmed case self-isolating or quarantining following travel from a country where this is required, there is no reason why they should not go to their homestay. If a member of the homestay is self-isolating as a Covid-positive case or contact then this hosting would not be advised.

Should students continue testing during their stay?

It is recommended by Public Health that students continue to participate in a twice weekly asymptomatic LFD testing outside of school, during stays with host families and in residential holiday settings.
Regular rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) tests if you do not have symptoms – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

What happens if a student displays symptoms whilst at a homestay provided by an AEGIS accredited guardianship organisation?

Host families would continue to care for students who display symptoms whilst at their home. They would follow medical advice and government guidelines on self-isolation:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

Host families would liaise closely with the guardianship organisation who would keep the school and overseas parents fully informed of the situation. 

Mixing of households – how does this affect hosting of international students?

International students are considered part of the family bubble that is hosting them.

Can a healthy international boarding student stay with a homestay during national lockdown?

International boarders are able to stay with allocated homestays just as British boarders are able to return home to stay with their families.

If an area goes into local lockdown whilst a student is staying with a homestay family during a school holiday, would they be able to return to boarding school during the lockdown period? 

Yes, they would be able to return to school.

Can guardians provide long term accommodation in homestays for students while schools are closed?

Yes guardians are able to provide long stay accommodation with host families.
Where a hosting arrangement for a student under the age of 16 lasts for 28 consecutive days or longer, AEGIS guardians are aware that this is classed as a private fostering arrangement and subject to local authority checks. AEGIS guardians understand that they have a duty to report the hosting arrangement to the local authority as soon as they become aware that the arrangement will meet the private fostering threshold. Further guidance on Private Fostering can be found here: Private Fostering

For further queries please contact:

DfE coronavirus helpline
Telephone: 0800 046 8687
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

AEGIS member guardians following the AEGIS COVID-19 Safe Charter will be displaying the safe logo: