Latest Safety Update Covid-19
Covid-19 Safety Update – The Essential English Centre
Updated 1st July 2020
The Essential English Centre will re-open on Monday 7th September 2020. We recognise the risks created by Coronavirus (COVID-19) to our students, staff, homestay hosts and others who work with us. Below, we have answered some of the key questions students may want to ask us before travelling. This is an active page and we will update it regularly with more information.
We also have an active blog where we will post regular updates and answer frequently asked questions. Here are the latest blog posts.
What date will the school re-open for face-to-face teaching?
We will re-open on September 7th 2020.
Will all courses be running?
Yes, all courses will be available and where possible will be taught face to face. In some cases, a small part of the course might be delivered via our live, virtual classroom. This will be decided on a week by week basis and in line with our current safety standards.
How can you open safely?
Through a series of specialist training webinars, updated handbooks and government guidance notices our team are now fully informed on how to open our school with the lowest risk possible. We are working (and we will continue to work) with Manchester City Council and English UK to make sure we are always following the most up to date health and safety guidelines in order to keep everyone safe.
The foundation of this work is in our Coronavirus risk assessment which is specific to our school. This is a working document that looks at all the possible risks in the following areas:
- Risks while studying in school.
- Risks while travelling to and from school
- Risks in your student residence or homestay accommodation
- Risks while you are taking part in a social activity in Manchester
- Risks at all other times outside of organised school time.
We will review our risk assessment frequently and update where necessary to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and wellbeing of our students, employees and others.
What changes are you making?
We are making a number of changes to help to keep students and staff safe at school. Here are some of the key changes and we are likely to update these as government guidance suggests to do so.
- Having different start times for each class, so that there are less students together at one time
- One-way systems throughout the school with clear signage and instructions
- Regular cleaning of touch points within the building
- Having hand sanitiser throughout the school, as well as several hand washing stations. We will ask students to wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds regularly throughout the day
- Make our Covid 19 rules clear and understandable on induction day
- Keeping to social distancing rules in classrooms
- Classrooms will be cleaned after every lesson
- Classroom doors will be kept open during lesson times to help with ventilation
- We will use classrooms that are situated in different areas of the school rather than side by side
- Any student who feels unwell will be isolated immediately from others in our designated isolation room, and the appropriate steps followed. Students who feel unwell before school should stay at home and inform the school immediately. Students will be able to quarantine at their homestay or student residence and all support necessary will be provided.
What safety measures will you take before opening the school again?
- We will carry out a full deep clean of the school by a professional cleaning company
- We will check our systems to make sure that air filters and ventilation work well. We will also check that all other safety systems including alarms, fire safety equipment, plumbing and water systems are in full working order
- We will have a full risk assessment in operation, and key staff will monitor this daily to ensure we are covering all areas of delivery
Will I have to wear a face covering at school?
You do not need to wear a face covering during your lesson, but you must wear a face covering at all other times when in in the building.
What accommodation can I choose?
We will offer the same accommodation as usual – homestay and student residence.
Student Residence or Homestay?
Staying at the student residence means you can walk to school and avoid public transport. In our opinion, this is a safer option.
If you choose to stay with a local Homestay host you will live in a house with at least one other person and it will be more difficult to practice social distancing. You will also need to use public transport e.g. travelling by bus for around 25 minutes for each journey. If you choose to stay with a host, we will make sure we follow all government safety measures and guidelines. There will a special contract between you and the host to ensure there is the lowest risk possible of Covid-19.
You may be required to move accommodation at short notice for any reason relating to Covid-19. We have emergency accommodation available in these circumstances.
What safety measures will be in place at the student residence?
- We will only work with residences that show a full commitment to following government guidelines on Covid-19.
- We will ask for all student residence Covid-19 risk assessments in advance and ask for assurance from residence management that these are being followed at all times. We will also ask you for regular updates.
What safety measures will be place at my homestay?
- We will only use good quality hosts that are not ‘high-risk’ (for example that do not work in high risk jobs).
- We will give hosts up-to-date training and a list of Covid-19 advice and guidance to make sure they can keep their house clean and safe.
- We will give hosts extra cleaning materials and extra hand sanitiser and hand wash for their homes.
- We will speak to hosts at least twice per week to make sure they feel secure and that they are following the Covid-19 guidelines.
- We will make sure hosts have up to date government advice and guidance.
- We will have emergency accommodation available if needed.
When I arrive at Manchester Airport, how will I get to my accommodation?
We recommend that you take a private taxi transfer instead of public transport. You can book our taxi transfer service using our reliable transfer company, or take your own. You must wear a face covering in the taxi and travel alone, unless you are travelling with a member of your household from your own country.
Will I have to quarantine when I arrive in the UK?
At the moment, the UK government is requesting that all arrivals to the UK self-isolate for 14 days. However, we expect that this restriction will no longer be in place by September. If it is still in place, you can quarantine at your homestay or residence, and we will support you with this.
What should I bring with me for the journey?
You must bring face coverings and hand sanitiser for your journey to the UK. Keep these in your hand luggage or on your person at all times to ensure yours and others’ safety.
Do I have to buy medical insurance?
Under 18s must purchase insurance. However, we recommend that all students buy insurance for your trip. It is important to to note that most insurance companies in the UK do not provide cover for illness relating to Covid-19.
How will I get to and from school safely?
We recommend that you use our student residence so that you can walk to school and avoid public transport at this time.
However, if you are in accommodation that requires you to take public transport:
- Current UK government rules say you must wear a face covering on the bus, tram or train
- Carry hand sanitiser at all times and use this immediately after getting off the bus, tram or train
- Wash your hands immediately when you arrive at school
- Where possible on public transport, stick to 2 metres distance from other people
- Cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze on public transport (or anywhere else). It is advised to cough or sneeze into your elbow, not into your hands
Will I be able to do social activities during my time in Manchester?
Yes. Manchester City Council and Visit Manchester are working hard to welcome visitors to our city again. Shops are open, and from 4th July, restaurants, bars, cinemas, museums, galleries will re-open. Other tourist attractions in and around Manchester will open from 4th July if they can do so safely. For more information on what is open, go to the Visit Manchester website. https://www.visitmanchester.com
What is the cancellation policy?
For courses booked from July 1st onwards, our standard term and conditions apply. However, we have new cancellation terms for any course cancelled due to Covid-19.
- If you are required to cancel your course more than 7 days before your course start date you can claim a full refund minus any booking fees and any costs which have been directly incurred by us (e.g. insurance).
- If you are required to cancel your course less than 7 days before your course start date you can postpone your course free of charge for up to 12 months. Our full terms and conditions are available here.
- These terms apply to any course and accommodation booking.
What will happen if the school has to close again at short notice?
Should this happen, we would expect it to be for a short period of time. For example, if someone in the building has a confirmed case of Covid-19, we would be required to close for a short period of time (2-3 days) for professional cleaning.
- If the school closes for up to 10 days due to Covid-19, we will offer all of our courses online, via our award-winning virtual classroom.
- If the school is required to close for more than 10 days, students will have the option to join the same course online or to postpone their course free of charge for up to 12 months.
Will online classes continue after the school re-opens?
Yes, our online classes have proved to be very popular, so even if you cannot travel to Manchester for an immersive experience, you can join our excellent teachers on an online course from the comfort of your own home!