Whilst remaining as positive as possible during this ‘COVID age’, most of our discussions with partners, parents, colleagues and industry peers are inevitably revolving around ‘you know what,’ and while we cannot predict the future, we can certainly prepare for it by focussing on the here and now whilst also hoping that come March 2021, when our Spring Course is due to start, COVID will be a thing of the past.
As mentioned, we have had many conversations and have been asked many questions about COVID such as how we plan to run our summer school in 2021 and how we plan to keep our students and staff safe during our courses. We therefore decided to write this blog in an attempt to answer some of these questions, to explain our processes in the build up to 2021 and to hopefully put some minds at rest.
Before we get into the nitty gritty of this blog however, we would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to our colleagues at the mothership that is Buckswood School. There are people who have worked tirelessly and endlessly to prepare our campus for reopening and to ensure that all Department for Education, Public Health England and World Health Organisation guidance was met in order to guarantee the utmost safety to anyone entering or living on the Buckswood campus as well as ensuring that the campus is a COVID secure place.
Before we continue, please be aware that Buckswood Overseas Summer School (BOSS) is a residential, closed campus. All students and BOSS staff live onsite, effectively in what you could already describe as ‘a bubble’. Our campus is in the heart of the East Sussex countryside. It is a very safe place with a lot of open, outdoor, green spaces where the air is fresh.
On with the questions and answers:
Q. Which safety measures will you apply in school?
A. As mentioned, the Buckswood campus has already been certified as COVID secure meaning:
Appropriate social distancing measures are in place in all areas of school
The availability of soap and disposable paper towels in all washing areas is guaranteed
We require regular hand washing by pupils and staff
Hand sanitiser stations are provided at key points in the house and around the campus
Pupils and staff are provided with the opportunity to raise any concerns
Laundry procedures are clear and safe for staff and pupils are ensured
Appropriate PPE for any staff performing roles which will require it are ensured
Enhanced daily cleaning procedures in the boarding houses and school have been implemented and all relevant staff have appropriate PPE
Pupils and staff are allowed to wear masks or face coverings (other than for activities where this is not advised)
Notices explaining new procedures are clearly displayed
Safe occupancy levels of all facilities and areas, including classrooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms are ensured
Any measures required when students are allowed to leave site are clearly explained
Equipment is not shared between pupils, other than when appropriate cleaning has taken place
Appropriate recreation areas (inside and outside) have been assigned for use by designated boarders who are aware of any new procedures and safe occupancy levels
Regular temperature checks of all students and staff and of any visitors, including parents are conducted
We are very clear that any bullying related to the pandemic will not be tolerated
In regards to Buckswood Overseas Summer School courses in 2021:
If COVID remains an issue during our courses in 2021, students may be assigned to single rooms
If COVID remains an issue during our courses in 2021, the total number of students in school may be reduced
If COVID remains an issue during our courses in 2021, class sizes may be reduced
If COVID remains an issue during our courses in 2021, the number of people in the dining room will be reduced
If COVID remains an issue during our courses in 2021, we already have a ‘socially distant activity and excursion programme’ standing by, i.e. no contact activities, etc.
We also have safety measures in place and advice relating to:
Pre-BOSS course preparation
The student’s departure from home
Arrival in the UK
Arrival at school
If you have any questions or require more information regarding any of the above points, please do let us know.
Q. What happens if someone (e.g. student, staff member) gets sick?
A. The Department for Education and Public Health England advise that:
“If a pupil or student in a boarding school shows symptoms of coronavirus, the setting should ensure that pupils and students self-isolate and are looked after by residential staff.”
As previously mentioned, our campus is deep in the countryside where the air is fresh and we have lots of outdoor space. However, should someone in school become unwell with COVID symptoms, as per government guidance, and please bear in mind that all of our students and staff are residential, they will be isolated in their accommodation as per guidance from the Department for Education which can be found here. This guidance states that ‘if a child in a boarding school shows symptoms, they should initially self-isolate in their residential setting household. Most children will benefit from self-isolating in their boarding house so that their usual support can continue.’ If required however, off-site accommodation is available to any students who may test positive for COVID19 where they can isolate and be looked after by BOSS staff. The same protocol is also relevant for any staff members who show symptoms.
Q. What is your refund policy should the boarder of a student’s country of origin or the UK boarder be closed?
A. In this situation, it would be impossible to travel so we would either offer a full refund or offer a credit note for a future BOSS course.
Q. What is your refund policy should a student’s flight be cancelled and it is impossible to find a suitable replacement flight?
A. In this situation we would either offer a full refund or offer a credit note for a future BOSS course however, a proof of flight cancellation must be provided.
Q. What is your refund policy should a quarantine rule be put into place either in your country or in the student’s country of origin?
A. We understand that the majority of our students stay with us for an average of two weeks, the typical quarantine period, so in this situation it would be impossible to participate in the BOSS course. We would therefore either offer a full refund or offer a credit note for a future BOSS course.
Q. What is your refund policy should your school is forced to go online again and the student is not willing to take online courses?
A. Since the student never originally signed up to an online course, we would either offer a full refund or a credit note for a future BOSS course.
Q. If teaching goes online after the student’s arrival in your country, will you refund the unused accommodation fees if the student decides to fly back home?
A. If the student decides to fly back home, we would offer either a full refund or a credit note for a future BOSS course amounting to the total of the time that will not be spent at BOSS.
Q. Will you require to pay a deposit with the booking?
A. Yes but it will be fully refundable.
Q. When do you require to pay the balance?
A. The balance must be paid in full one month before arrival.
This blog has been written to hopefully answer the questions which we have most frequently been asked recently. Any answers have been thoughtfully considered following UK government, the Department for Education, Public Health England and the World Health Organisation. If there are any questions that you may have which have not been answered in this blog, or if you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
This blog was written on Tuesday 22nd September using the information available at this time. Should there be any important updates or developments following this date, we will share them in future blogs, newsletter, emails, etc.
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