Unaccompanied students arriving from a red list country to attend boarding school

How unaccompanied students can quarantine in boarding school accommodation.

Applies to England

Everyone who has been in or travelled through a country on the red list in the 10 days before arriving in England must quarantine for 10 days on arrival. For the majority of travellers, this means staying in a managed quarantine hotel.

Unaccompanied students travelling from a red list country to attend a boarding school approved by the Secretary of State for Education may be able to quarantine in accommodation provided by their boarding school. The student must have been a minor (under the age of 18) on 1 September 2021 to be able to quarantine at their boarding school.

This guidance is for students who were minors (under 18) on 1 September 2021 and their families.

You can read more about minors travelling alone from red list countries in the ‘Unaccompanied minors’ section of the detailed guidance for red list arrivals.

Only students who are a British or Irish national or have residence rights in the UK are allowed to travel to England from a red list country.

Before travelling

If the boarding school is able to provide accommodation for the student to quarantine, they will provide the student’s parent, guardian or appropriate adult with information on quarantine arrangements and outline steps they must take to arrange their travel to the UK.

The boarding school student must take a coronavirus (COVID-19 test and get a negative result during the 2 days before they travel.

In addition, the student or an adult responsible for the student must:

On arrival in England

The boarding school will provide the student with 2 letters to present to UK Border Force officials on arrival.

One will be a copy of a letter from the Department for Education to the school confirming that boarding school students are covered by an exemption. This means they do not need to stay in a managed quarantine hotel.

The second will be a letter from the school to the student.

A representative of the boarding school will meet the student at their port of entry and transport them directly to the boarding school accommodation where they will quarantine.

Quarantining at a boarding school

The terms of the boarding school quarantine are legal requirements, and students quarantining there must follow the rules set out by their school.

There is separate guidance for owners and managers of boarding schools, setting out the requirements that boarding school quarantine accommodation must meet.

Some of this information may be useful for parents and students, including details on:

  • how long students must quarantine for
  • arrangements for meals, room cleaning, disposing of rubbish and laundry
  • what provisions will be made for students to exercise
  • what COVID-19 tests the students must take
  • what happens if students test positive for COVID-19 while they are quarantining
  • what conditions must be met for quarantine to end
Published 27 September 2021
Last updated 30 December 2021 + show all updates
  1. Changed link through which day 2 and day 8 tests must be booked. Clarified that students must be under 18 on 1 September 2021.

  2. Added content about changes to restrictions as a result of the SARS-COV-2 OMCIRON variant. Four more countries have been added to the red list.

  3. Added content explaining that South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe moved onto the red list at midday on Friday 26 November. A temporary flight ban is now in place and all travellers who have been in these countries must quarantine and take tests.

  4. First published.