Coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advice
3 Jan 2021 08:49 by Nigel English
Coronavirus travel advice - for schools with upcoming trips
The guide below explains current travel advice and summarises the options for school groups with an upcoming school trip booking. The information below is based on advice from a broad range of experts, in particular the School Travel Forum, ABTA, DfE and the Association of British Insurers. Please note that we are in contact with all the groups due to depart in the spring and summer terms and so parents should talk directly to the school about their child's specific trip.
We have updated our group safety and wellbeing protocols so that you can still enjoy an incredible school trip, with the same activities and quality learning experiences, but with extra COVID-19 precautions. Follow this link to find out how you can book and travel with confidence.
Foreign Office travel advice
As an ABTA bonded tour operator, we take our lead from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), the government authority on safety, security and entry requirements for British people travelling overseas. FCDO advice is under constant review and you can check the latest by clicking on this link.
School trips which are directly impacted by the FCDO's travel restrictions
If, when your trip is due to depart, the FCDO advises against travel to your destination, then we would work with you to postpone the trip to a later date or find you a suitable alternative. If that proves impossible, we will cancel your trip and your group will be eligible for a refund.
We are in regular contact with all schools with trips booked for the autumn term to keep them updated on the latest travel advice..
School trips to destinations excluded from the FCDO travel restrictions
If travel restrictions are lifted before your group's departure, then your group is free to travel and we will honour your booking. However, we understand that groups might still be reluctant to travel at this time and so we are offering groups the chance to transfer their spring booking to 2022. Not only does this remove any uncertainty about the upcoming trip, but also means that parents need pay nothing more until next year.
Alternatively, you could consider cancelling your trip, but this option hinges on your school's insurance because your group will incur cancellations charges as per our booking conditions. We’ve provided more information about how to claim for lost deposits in the insurance section below.
Department for Education travel advice for educational settings
The Department for Education advice for schools regarding educational trips was updated on 26 November 2020. The lastest DfE advice says that some domestic trips could resume from Easter 2021.
Further travel and insurance information
FCO travel advice relating to coronavirus.
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.
Our full terms and conditions can be found on: https://www.voyagerschooltravel.com/about-us/school-tour-booking-terms-and-conditions/
Contacting your insurer
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.
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.
Outdoor Advisors Panel and the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, Joint statement 25 March 2020
English academies and members of the Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA)
The RPA is an alternative to insurance for academies and some state maintained schools in England and specifically included cover for school trip cancellation. The DfE confirmed that members can claim for school trips cancelled due to government advice in the 2019/20 academic year.