Coronavirus (COVID-19) and educational visits

Please find below signposting information on Coronavirus (COVID-19) and educational visits. This is produced by The Outdoor Education Advisers Panel (OEAP) who are responsible for producing National Guidance for educational visits.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – as of 03 March 2020

What are the Implications for Visits? Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new highly infectious disease which is causing a serious threat to public health around the world. The national and international situation is changing rapidly, and so guidance about how to manage the risks associated with Coronavirus is also subject to change.

The latest government advice and information is available at: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public.

NHS advice about COVID-19 is at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19.

The Department for Education has issued guidance to educational settings about COVID-19: www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educationalsettings-about-covid-19.  

It also has a helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows (opening hours 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday):

• Phone: 0800 046 8687

• Email: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk  


Planning and Preparing for a Visit

When planning a visit, you should take the current advice and guidance about COVID-19 into account as part of your process of risk assessment, and then check it regularly in the days and weeks leading up to the visit and make any changes necessary to your plans.

Parents and participants may naturally be concerned, even if the visit is not to a place affected by COVID-19, so you should discuss their concerns with them and keep them informed about the situation and how you plan to mitigate any risks.

If you plan to visit a venue such as a museum or gallery, or to attend a public event such as a concert or sporting fixture, or to stay in accommodation such as a hostel or hotel, or if you are using a tour operator or activity provider, discuss the potential effects of COVID-19 with them at the time of booking, and keep in touch with them during the run-up to the visit.

If you make any bookings or financial commitments, you should clarify how the terms and conditions will apply if you have to cancel, or are prevented from going ahead because of COVID-19. You should also ensure that parents are clear about any financial consequences of cancellation.

If the visit involves any significant financial commitments, such as travel or accommodation, you should discuss the potential effects of COVID-19 with your travel insurance provider. For example, will the insurance cover the cost of cancellation, curtailment or delay due to virus control measures (such as members of the group being isolated at home or in a hotel and prevented from travelling)?

The Association of British Insurers has published advice on the travel insurance implications of COVID-19, mainly focused on overseas travel, at: www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/coronavirus-qa

Because of COVID-19, there may be a higher than normal risk of leaders being unable to go on a visit, and so you may need to take this into account when planning the staffing of visits.

If you are planning a visit which involves another group (perhaps a group overseas), such as an exchange visit, or if you are planning to host or work with another group (perhaps an overseas group visiting the UK), you should keep in contact with them and be aware that they might need to change or cancel the arrangement.

Overseas Visits

For overseas visits, you should monitor the government's foreign travel advice for any country you are travelling to or through: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice along with information relating to COVID-19 specified countries and areas https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-specified-countries-and-areas.

Liaise closely with your travel provider about the situation in the country that you are planning to visit and consider the alternatives and options should that visit no longer be able to proceed.

The advice given above about insurance is particularly important for overseas visits.

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has published guidance about travelling overseas at: www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak.

When returning from overseas, check the advice for returning travellers at: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public#returningtravellers

ENDS

 

 

 


Information

Published: 05/03/2020
Audience: All schools
Contact: David Maw

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