Covid-19 Group Travel

For the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

foreign officeThe Foreign & Commonwealth Office and National Travel Health Network and Centre have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see www.gov.uk/travelaware 

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice 

 Also see our Health and Safety Updates page

The advice can change so please check regularly for updates.

Introduction

This guide explains the current travel advice and summarises the options for schools with an upcoming booking with Select School Travel. The information is based on advice from the School Travel Forum, Kennedys Law, ABTA, DfE and the Association of British Insurers.

Guidance on School Group Overseas Travel

2nd July 2020 – Department of Education continue to advise against overseas educational visits at this stage.

4th July 2020 – The UK government lifted travel restrictions to certain destinations.

10th July 2020 - The 14-day quarantine rules were alleviated for arrivals into the UK from many key destinations.

Naturally, this has raised questions from Party Leaders, schools and parents, regarding the status of trips planned, particularly for the Autumn 2020 term.  

As a school tour operator, we adhere to guidance from the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)

Foreign Office Travel Advice

The Foreign Office updated its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ travel, exempting destinations that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers.

You can check if your school trip destination is on the FCO's list of exemptions by clicking on this link.

Your planned school trip

Firstly, it is important that schools review risk assessments, seek guidance from your LEA / SLT on permission for the group to travel on the planned dates.

If there are no FCO or local government travel restrictions in place for the stated destination, SST will be in a position to operate the tour.

If the school agree to continue as planned with the booking – regardless of current FCO advice, as this could change at any time, they are required to maintain payments in line with SST’s booking terms and conditions.

Please inform us if there are challenges in terms of these payments. Select will aim to provide as much flexibility as possible.

Alternatively, SST can offer to work with groups to postpone bookings due to travel during the autumn 2020 term, until the spring 2021 term.

Otherwise, should groups wish to cancel a booking, we advise checking with the school’s insurer with a view to recover the loss of deposits

Educational Tours https://selectschooltours.com/resources/terms-conditions

School Ski https://selectschoolskiing.com/school-ski-trips-booking-and-planning/terms-conditions

Chateau du Baffy https://chateaudubaffy.education/offers-planning/terms-conditions

Claiming on Insurance

The Outdoor Advisors Panel (OEAP) and The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) has been working to help schools claim against their school insurance policy for trips which they are not able to take due to government advice. They issued the following statement which has been signed off by the DfE:

For domestic visits and visits abroad, which have had to be cancelled as a result of government advice, the advice from the DfE is to contact your insurer.

Outdoor Advisors Panel and the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom

Joint statement 25 March 2020

For those schools who have committed to educational visits which can now not go ahead, the government’s advice issued is sufficient and will allow schools to make an insurance claim against their policy. This includes more complex overseas expeditions, where the duration of school closure and the subsequent lack of organisational and preparation time with the students may mean that a future expedition has become unviable for a school to undertake safely even after the school re-opens.

Risk Protection Scheme - English academies and state maintained schools

The risk protection arrangement (RPA) is an alternative to insurance for academies and some state-maintained schools in England and specifically includes cover for school trip cancellation.

For trips that were booked prior to 12 March 2020 the RPA is providing cancellation cover and will deal with claims if at the planned time of departure, the FCO or the DfE are advising against non-essential travel to the country or location the school is planning to travel to.  This will also apply if the trip was booked before 12 March 2020 but the school has subsequently agreed with the travel provider to delay it to a later departure date. If the FCO or DFE advice is against travel to the school’s planned destination at the planned departure time schools should submit a claim to the RPA as per the RPA membership pack for reimbursement of deposits and advance payments made for the trip that are not recoverable from the tour operator, booking agent or credit card companies. If the FCO and DfE are not advising against travel to the trip destination but the school or individual pupil(s) decide not to travel, this would be deemed disinclination to travel and the RPA is not able to provide compensation for any deposits or advance payments made for the trip.  

If you are a member, please see the RPA Claims download at the bottom of this page for information on how to claim. 

Making a claim on your RPA – download  RPA Claims Advice (185 KB pdf)

Useful information

ABTA offers advice for customers looking to cancel a trip due to coronavirus on their website:

https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak 

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has produced information on travel insurance and school insurance implications following the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. If you have any further questions about your cover or would like further reassurance, you should contact your travel insurance provider.

The government’s travel guidance for educational settings can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-advice-for-educational-settings/coronavirus-travel-guidance-for-educational-settings

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