If you or someone you know is displaying symptoms of Covid-19, you should inform IH Belfast immediately. We will be following the NHS protocol outlined here.
The safety of our students, staff, hosts and visitors remains paramount and we have introduced the following measures to minimise any risk of infection:
- Students should check whether they can fly into the UK according to the UK government’s travel corridor updates.
- During the 14 days before students are due to travel, students should check their temperature and monitor their sense of taste/smell daily. IH Belfast should be informed of any symptoms that might be caused by the Covid-19 virus.
- A pre-travel negative Covid test is usually required – please check with your airline.
- IH Belfast should be informed of any health conditions which are adversely affected by Covid-19 e.g. respiratory problems, asthma etc.
- IH Belfast should be informed if a student has been or thinks they may have been in contact with anybody with CoVid-19 the two weeks before scheduled arrival in Belfast
** If a student feels unwell or has any symptoms of Covid-19, they must stay at home. Classes will be available online! **
General arrival information:
- Anyone arriving into Northern Ireland must quarantine/self-isolate for a period of 10 days after arrival in their accommodation, whether the accommodation was booked through the school or arranged privately. There is no “test to release” scheme available in Northern Ireland.
Arriving at homestay accommodation:
- Students arriving at homestay accommodation should make their way to their room with their luggage upon arrival.
- Students should shower and change immediately.
- Clothes worn while travelling should be laundered as soon as possible.
- Ten day period of self-isolation commences – host will provide meals and refreshments as required.
Note: We ask all students to staying in homestay accommodation to be particularly respectful while they are staying with IH Belfast’s wonderful hosts during this pandemic. Students should treat the homestay with the same amount of care and respect as they would treat their own home. Students should adhere to all hygiene and social distancing policies operating within the school and around the city, as well as any rules stipulated by their host. The host is free to contact IH Belfast staff at any time if they feel due respect and consideration are not being paid by the student.
Arriving at shared residential accommodation:
- Students arriving at apartment accommodation will be met by an IH Belfast representative who will be wearing PPE.
- Students will be shown to their apartment immediately – those in a shared apartment should shower and change as soon as they arrive to protect their roommate
- Ten day period of self-isolation in private bedroom commences – reception staff will bring online grocery/food orders to private bedrooms.
Entering and moving around the school building:
Students/staff will be required to follow all instructions/directions to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.
- Classes will start at different (staggered) times, approximately 10 minutes apart. We will tell students what time their class starts before they arrive. Students should arrive at school just 5 minutes before class start time.
- Facial masks or visors are required in all common areas such as hallways, washrooms, the reception desk etc. The classroom will be considered a closed ‘bubble’, and masks may be removed inside based on personal preference. Masks or visors will be available for a small fee if you forget to bring one.
- Hand sanitising is required on entry to the school. Hand sanitiser is provided at front door and in every room.
- Temperatures will be taken each morning at the door of the school before entry is granted.
- If a temperature is above 37.5C, the student will be asked to return home and to stay home and self-isolate/monitor. They may be required to remain away from the school for 14 days.
- N.B.: In homestay accommodation, it will be the host’s decision whether students asked to self-isolate can do so in the homestay or in alternative accommodation. If alternative accommodation is required, it will be at the student’s own expense.
- Social Distancing must be observed: markers will be in place.
- Social distancing must be observed even if it appears others are not doing so. IHB will keep staff and students up to date with the latest social distancing requirements.
- Arrival times and break times will be staggered to prevent students from moving around the school at the same time. We encourage students to go outside during their break.
- There will be no walk-in enquiries / visitors to the school.
- Drinks/snacks will be dispensed by the machine in the students’ room. Gloves must be worn by those using the machines. Please wipe the machines down after use.
- All payments must be made by card, preferably contactless.
- A plexiglass barrier is installed at the front reception desk to manage direct meetings between staff, students and prospective students.
- Non-teaching staff will be given schedules for days to work from school and days to work from home to help keep numbers down within the school.
- The microwave and vending machines will be available to use but people should not gather in these areas.
- The outdoor courtyard will be open and is a suitable space to maintain social distancing.
- Washrooms will be available and each class will be assigned their bathroom to use. Again social distancing must be maintained. People must maintain a 2-metre distance while waiting in line.
- Clear guards (face shields) and gloves may also be worn if staff/students so choose.
- Class sizes in the school are reduced to ensure we can all maintain social distancing. Occupancy limits for specific classrooms are posted in front of the room.
- Classrooms will be disinfected daily.
- Students must only use their own books and booklets.
- Staff and students must not share their belongings. Students must bring their own pens, pencils and paper to avoid having to use somebody else’s.
- Due to the nature of the classrooms and other protections being provided, barriers will not be installed in the classrooms. Individual face visors will be available for use in class if requested.
- The classroom will be considered a closed ‘bubble’, and masks may be removed inside based on personal preference. Masks or visors will be available for a small fee if you forget to bring one.
- All classrooms will have either disinfectant spray with paper towels or disinfectant wipes available, as well as hand sanitizer. They are to stay in the class where they’ve been placed and are common property for those in that classroom. They are not to be removed from the room at all.
- During class time, students and teachers are responsible for the cleanliness and sanitation of their classroom.
- Specific cleaning protocols have been put in place. All staff and students are expected to do their part for cleaning and sanitation.
- A bottle of disinfectant spray and paper towels, or disinfectant wipes, will be available. When somebody touches a surface, they must wipe it down for the next person to follow. This protocol must be followed.
- The school will be offering mostly outdoor-based activities for the moment, and the social programme co-ordinator will monitor social distancing accordingly on all activities.
- Masks and hand sanitisers will be made available where applicable.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Can I study online before I travel?
Yes! Beginning your course from home is a fantastic way for you to get a head start on your English progress and really make the most of your time in Belfast.
What do I need to prepare?
Please follow our Covid-19 protocol. If you have shown any symptoms, been in contact with someone showing symptoms or have a medical condition that could put you at additional risk (for example asthma) it is imperative that you inform us, even if it means we need to postpone your course. The health and safety of our staff and students is our highest priority.
What happens if I need to quarantine?
The UK government announced the lifting of quarantine restrictions on arrival to the UK on 10 July for 59 countries. You can check the full list of exempt countries here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors
If your country does not appear on this list, or you have transited a country not included on the list within 14 days of your arrival, you will be required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival to the UK.
How do I get to and from the airport safely?
We can arrange an individual taxi transfer for you as normal. Passengers are required to wear masks and we also recommend wearing gloves for the duration of the journey. Taxis are fully disinfected between journeys.
Can I travel around Belfast safely?
Yes; social distancing is in effect on all public transport in Belfast. This does mean that there is reduced capacity on buses, so we are staggering the class times to ensure you won’t need to travel at a busy time. We still recommend allowing plenty of time for your journey to school.
What is the cancellation policy?
We know these are uncertain times for everyone, so if you show symptoms or your travel plans are disrupted, you can join your course online cancel or postpone your course and accommodation with no penalty.
Please note we cannot take any responsibility for any additional costs incurred (for example, your flights) so we highly recommend you take out full insurance to cover this. We recommend Guard.Me insurance.
What happens if I get symptoms of Covid-19 before I travel?
Please inform us immediately; we will likely need to postpone your booking however there will be no penalty for this – safety is most important.
What happens if I get symptoms of Covid-19 after I arrive in Belfast?
If you start to show symptoms in school you will be asked to return to your accommodation immediately. You will then need to quarantine for 14 days without exception. In homestay accommodation, it will be up to the host to decide whether you can self-isolate in their home or if you will need to find alternative accommodation. If alternative accommodation is required, it will be at your own expense.
While you are in quarantine you will still be able to learn online with us and meet other students in our online social activities.
Please note that if your period of 14 day quarantine finishes after the end of your course/planned departure date, you must still complete the 14 days (as per the UK ‘Coronavirus Act’) and the cost of extending your accommodation and any other costs incurred (for example your return flight) will be your responsibility.
Do I need insurance?
Yes. Although your course and accommodation with IH Belfast can be postponed or cancelled with no charge. We cannot accept any responsibility for any other costs incurred during your trip. Our recommended insurers are Guard.Me
*Please note that we are planning for reopening based on all available guidance from the UK government and the Northern Ireland Executive, and should the situation change we will adapt accordingly for the safety of our students and staff and update this information accordingly.
With everybody helping and working together, we can keep Covid-19 out of IH Belfast! Thank you for your help and continued support.
We are here to help; so should you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org