What the new COVID-19 traffic light system means for school trips
15 Oct 2021, 10:40 by Carrie Bowsher
This guide explains the current 'trafffic light' rules for school groups returning home from an international school trip. Follow the links at the bottom of this article to see what is required from groups travelling to their destination country.
What are the new COVID-19 rules for travellers returning from abroad?
From 4 October 2021, the amber list was been scrapped in favour of a new simplified travel classification with a single 'red list' and the rest of the world.
At the same time, the rules for fully vaccinated travellers returning from countries that aren't on the red list were relaxed as follows:
- Fully vaccinated adults no longer require a test to return to England, known as the pre-departure test, and will only need to take one lateral flow test on day 2 of their return
- Children travelling with a fully vaccinated adult will benefit from the same rules as the fully vaccinated adult, even if they haven’t been vaccinated
Adults who are not fully vaccinated, or are only partially vaccinated, will need to take a pre-departure test to return home, followed by two tests in England (on day 2 and day 8) and quarantine for 10 days at home.
To find out more about the requirements for visitors returning to England, visit the government website. To check the latest entry requirements for travelling to your destination country, please visit the travel advice page on our COVID-19 Travel Hub.
What does the change in travel rules mean for school trips with unvaccinated, or partly vaccinated, children?
The Department for Transport has confirmed that children returning to England with a fully vaccinated teacher as part of a school trip will benefit from the same rules as the fully vaccinated adult, regardless of their vaccination status.
This means that, as long as the under 18s in the group are returning to England with a fully vaccinated teacher, they do not need to quarantine on return to England, nor do they need a pre-department test.
The new rules still require double jabbed teachers and students on the trip to take a negative test on day 2 of their return to England and this needs to be pre-booked before departing home.
These rules apply only for countries that aren’t on the red list – it is very unlikely that we would run a school trip to a red list country.
We’re campaigning to simplify the process for school groups
The new rules still require all travellers to complete a passenger locator form in 48 hours before returning to England and through our industry body, the School Travel Forum, we are working with Department of Transport to amend these forms to make them easier for school groups.
What about school groups returning to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?
Note that these rules are for groups returning to England. Follow the links below for the rules on returning from other home nations of the UK:
All information is correct as of 15/10/2021. As the situation is constantly evolving, please consult government information to check the most recent requirement.