School Travel Advice: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Tuesday, 17th March 2020

Destination Specialist

canada plane landing at sunset istk

Whether your trip is coming up in the next month or later this year, we know that the uncertainty around travelling during the coronavirus outbreak has added a layer of complication and stress to your already busy teaching lives.

We are doing our best to contact all schools to offer advice on the next steps for their trips but we have also assembled the following considerations to hopefully help you in making decisions and communicating with parents.

This is a fast-changing situation make so sure you check the government, FCO and insurance guidance links for the latest guidance.

We’ve put together a video message from our team, take a look >

Official Advice

FCO guidance

Last updated: 24/04/2020

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises British people against all non-essential travel worldwide. At present this is for an indefinite period. We will be contacting all passengers who were due to travel imminently (in the next 14 days) to assist in postponing or cancelling their arrangements.

For departures cancelled by Discover the World Education, we will be asking all cancelled passengers to go to their travel insurer in the first instance for a refund. In the event that you are not covered Discover the World Education. please provide a claim refusal letter to Discover the World Education.

If in the future, the destination you are travelling to does not have FCO guidance, cancellation charges may apply if you decide to cancel your trip. Remember, even when the UK advice changes, local restrictions in your destination may apply. If you are set to travel to a destination in the time frame affected by border closures, travel bans, or cancelled flights, you will not be able to travel.

Stay up to date with the latest FCO Guidance>

UK Government advice

Last updated: 24/04/2020

The UK government currently ‘advises against all overseas education trips for children under 18 until further notice.’

It is important to acknowledge that the advisory nature of government statements must be backed by a change in FCO guidance in order for it to enforce a decision on your trip. In the coming months, if the UK government provide guidance which is not supported with a statement from the FCO, the decision whether or not to travel still lies with the school.

Insurance

Last updated: 24/04/2020

Many of you will have the concern of cost at the forefront of your minds. Understandably parents will be keen to understand what you will be covered for in the case of a cancellation. To understand the situation for your group we recommend speaking to your insurer directly and carefully reading our terms and conditions. School trips may have insurance cover through travel insurance, through the Local Authority, or through the Department of Education’s RPA scheme.

Your SLT or Local Authority

Last updated: 24/04/2020

As and when the FCO guidance changes, there still may be other bodies who will make the decision about whether schools are able to travel.

We have heard from several teachers that the decision of whether or not to run a school trip is often being made by the Local Authority or head teacher of the school. Please make this decision maker aware of the financial implications of cancelling a school trip, depending on the FCO guidance on the destination of your choice.

 

Our advice

Last updated: 24/04/2020

Our priority is your group’s safety. We are following FCO guidance and cancelling all trips where travel has been banned. For those trips where it is not clear that an FCO restriction is in place for the departure date, we are encouraging groups to either hold off until the FCO guidance is updated or cancel as early as possible to avoid maximum cancellation fees. Of course it is difficult to prescribe a one size fits all approach to all trips set to take place over the rest of the year but if you do have a query our friendly and supportive team are more than happy to advise to the best of our ability.

Parent communication

One of the most challenging aspects of this outbreak has been the lack of clarity and communication of complex ideas that all of us have never faced before.

Before communicating parents, please do make sure you have spoken to your travel specialist to establish the next financial steps to be taken in any eventuality, regarding your trip. We have not included information about refunds or cancellation payments in these templates. These may be different for each school, especially if you have ground arrangements that may be affected e.g. airport coach costs, etc.

We hope that the following templates can serve as a starting block for your communications with parents and assist you with whatever decision you make concerning your upcoming trips.

 

In the event you are cancelling your school trip…

Dear parents and carers,

As I’m sure you are aware, coronavirus is having an impact on travel all over the world. Of course, the health of your child is our priority and we have been following all updates and guidance in order to make our decision regarding upcoming school travel.

After consulting with Discover the World Education, it is with a heavy heart that I must inform you I have decided that Year 9’s trip to Sicily will no longer be going ahead on 20th March.

As this trip was cancelled due to FCO guidance, you will be entitled to a refund of £xxx.

As this trip was cancelled despite FCO guidance, you will be entitled to a refund of £xxx.

It is unfortunate that the students will not get to enjoy this opportunity but we hope there will be other trips in future that they will be able to enjoy once this difficult time has passed.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Best regards

Ms Jones

 

In the event you are postponing the school trip…

Dear parents and carers,

As I’m sure you are aware, coronavirus is having an impact on travel all over the world. Of course, the health of your child is our priority and we have been following all updates and guidance in order to make our decision regarding upcoming school travel.

After carefully considering the advice and guidance available, I have decided that Year 9’s trip to Sicily will be postponed.

The new date of this trip is likely to be February 2021. I am currently working with Discover the World Education to confirm the details of this trip and any cost implications. As soon as I have the full details for this trip I will be in touch to confirm you are still happy for your child to attend.

I sincerely hope that your child is able to join this trip in February 2021 and I hope this gives them something to look forward to in this challenging time.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Best regards

Ms Jones

 

In the event your plans are going ahead, unchanged…

Dear parents and carers,

As I’m sure you are aware, coronavirus is having an impact on travel all over the world. Of course, the health of your child is our priority and we have been following all updates and guidance in order to make our decision regarding upcoming school travel.

After reading the available guidance in detail, I can currently advise that Year 9’s trip to Sicily in October 2020 is planned to go ahead unchanged. We acknowledge that this situation is evolving and will keep you updated if there is a change in travel guidance.

I respect your decision if you chose to withdraw your child from the trip but I hope that they will still be able to join us for this exciting experience.

I appreciate that this is a challenging time with many difficult decisions to come, if you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Best regards

Ms Jones

 

In the event you are waiting to make your decision…

Dear parents and carers,

As I’m sure you are aware, coronavirus is having an impact on travel all over the world. Of course, the health of your child is our priority and we have been following all updates and guidance in order to make our decision regarding upcoming school travel.

At this point in time we have not made a decision about whether or not Year 9’s trip to Sicily in October 2020 will be going ahead.

There will be financial implications in the event of cancelling this trip so we are watching the situation unfold in order to make the decision which will be best for the families involved.

Despite these challenging times, I still believe this trip is a fantastic opportunity for your child and I hope that it will go ahead as planned, but in the event that it cannot, I will be keeping all parents informed.

Best regards

Ms Jones

 

If your situation does not fit with these scenarios, please do get in touch with our team who will be happy to assist you in constructing a message to parents.

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