Dear Members,

Welcome to this week’s edition of the BSA member newsletter. I hope that those of you returning from half term this week managed to have an enjoyable and relaxing break. Our thoughts are now turning to the Christmas holidays and we envisage there are going to be a number of COVID-19-related difficulties for international children returning home. We therefore encourage you to start communication with parents and guardians early to establish a plan for each international child.

Schools should have a contingency plan that includes caring for a child unable to return to their country of origin. This will look different for each school due to set up and size. This needs to be communicated with parents and guardians so they are fully aware of what you are able to offer.

When planning travel arrangements for the end of term we suggest you consider the following issues that may affect flights home:

  • COVID Passes – 16/17 year olds will have the pass but only one vaccination.
  • 12-15 year olds currently cannot get COVID passes, other than in Scotland, and only have one vaccination NHS COVID Pass – NHS (www.nhs.uk); NHS COVID Status App (Scotland);COVID Pass Wales). The Northern Ireland guidance states that children ‘do not need’ a COVIDCert. BSA is currently clarifying details with the relevant administrations.
  • Pupils who have had COVID recently may miss out on COVID vaccines – these children can now use the drop-in system to catch up on this, 28 days following their positive test (Find a walk-in coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination site – NHS (www.nhs.uk))
  • Those who have had COVID recently have a higher risk of a positive PCR if one is taken within 90 days of positive COVID test – this may impact upon pre-flight PCRs
  • Pupils may decide to leave early in order to quarantine in their own country so they can be with family for Christmas
  • Contingency plans are needed for those who are unable to return home, including those who test positive at the end of term or at the airport.
  • Some countries outside the UK require ‘full vaccination’ in order for 12-17 year-olds to avoid self-isolation upon entry. If schools have concerns about particular countries, please raise those with us at bsa@boarding.org.uk and we shall make appropriate enquiries.

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