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Government advises schools and colleges to cancel overseas trips

Schools and colleges are being advised against all overseas trips for children under 18 until further notice. This is one of the latest measures announced as part of the Government’s coronavirus response.

The Government, based on guidance from the DfE, has issued the advice as a safeguarding measure to address the specific challenges organisers of trips for under 18s would face should adult supervisors or children exhibit symptoms that require self-isolation, or where measures taken by foreign countries to control coronavirus change rapidly.

The advice does not apply to trips planned within the UK but schools and colleges should refresh their risk assessments to take into account the new self-isolation rules in case a pupil or an adult supervisor is exposed to coronavirus or show symptoms.

In reviewing these assessments schools and colleges will be expected to have contingency measures in place which are agreed with parents.

Those who are already on overseas trips should also review their current risk assessments and communicating with parents about plans should someone in the group be exposed or have to self-isolate.

The guidance also provides information for UK students, university and college staff over the age of 18 travelling overseas during term breaks, or for placements and exchanges, advising them to look at the latest FCO travel advice and Public Health England (PHE) Public Health matters guidance.

UK students over the age of 18 due to travel on behalf of their education institution are being advised to speak to them before the trip to discuss whether the trip should go ahead.

All UK students and staff currently studying or working overseas should continue to monitor the travel advice issued by the FCO and comply with any COVID-19 control measures put in place by their host nation.

Students on Erasmus+ exchanges may have to postpone or cancel travel to and from regions affected by COVID-19 and should speak to their provider about arrangements.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has produced information on travel insurance implications following the COVID-19 outbreak. Schools and colleges should contact their travel insurance provider and the Department for Education will continue to monitor the situation.

Published 12 March 2020