Covid-19 Safety Measures

IH Belfast is reopening on 10 August!!!! We are looking forward to welcoming you to our wonderful city.  The safety of our students, staff, hosts and visitors remains paramount and we have introduced the following measures to minimise any risk of infection:

 

Before travelling:

  • You should check whether you are expected to quarantine after arrival by checking the UK government’s travel corridor updates
  • During the 14 days before you are due to travel take your temperature & monitor your sense of taste and smell. Keep us informed of any symptoms you have which might be caused by the Covid-19 virus.
  • Inform IH Belfast of any health conditions you have which are adversely affected by Covid-19 e.g. respiratory problems, asthma etc.
  • Inform IH Belfast if you have been or think you may have been in contact with anybody with CoVid-19 in the two weeks before your scheduled arrival in Belfast

At school International House Belfast will be implementing 4 levels of protection:

  1. First Level Protection – Elimination
  2. Second Level Protection – Barriers
  3. Third Level Protection – Administrative
  4. Fourth Level Protection – Using masks (or other personal protective equipment)

 

**If you feel ill or have any symptoms of Covid-19, please stay at home. You will be able to join your classes online!**

 

Upon Entering IH (Step 1)

First Level Protection – Elimination

  • Classes will start at different (staggered) times, approximately 10 minutes apart to avoid too many people collecting in doorways and at reception and reduce number of teachers in the teachers’ room at any given time. We will tell you what time your class starts before you arrive. Please arrive at school just 5 minutes before your class start time.
  • An IH staff member will take the temperature of all people entering and give the Covid-19 health survey.  Temperature will be taken with an infra- red thermometer; if physical contact with the thermometer is accidentally made, a disinfectant will be applied to clean the thermometer.
  • Students/staff who have a temperature within the ‘normal’ range (36.5-37.5 C), will be allowed to enter the building. If their temperature is above 37.5 C, they will be given a second temperature check (many people drink coffee/hot drinks or run to class). If their temperature is still above 37.5C, they will be asked to return to their home. They will be asked to stay home and self-isolate/monitor. They may be required to remain away from the school for 14 days.
  • If a student in home stay accommodation asked to self-isolate/monitor it will be the host’s decision whether the student can isolate at their home, or at alternative accommodation. If alternative accommodation is required it will be at the student’s own expense.
  • Hand sanitising is required on entry to the school. Hand sanitiser is provided at front door and in every room.
  • 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.
  • There will be no walk-in enquiries / visitors to the school.
  • Upon entry, students/staff will be required to follow all instructions/directions to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.
  • Social Distancing should be observed: markers will be in place.
  • 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.
  • Students must only use their own books and booklets.
  • Breaktimes will be staggered so not all students are moving round the school at the same time. We encourage students to go outside during their break.
  • Classrooms will be disinfected each day.
  • Drinks 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 (for example for social activities) must be made by card, preferably contactless.
  • 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.

After entering IH (Step 2)

Second Level Protection – Barriers

Due to the nature of the classrooms and other protections being provided, barriers will not be installed in the classrooms.

  • A plexiglass barrier is installed at the front reception desk to manage direct meetings between staff, students and prospective students.
  • Individual face visors will be available for use in class.

Third Level Protection – Administrative (Step 3)

  • There will be a staggered schedule for classes with different starting and break times to reduce group sizes in common areas and number of teachers in the teacher preparation room.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Fourth Level Protection – Masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (Step 4) 

  • 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.
  • Clear guards (face shields) and gloves may also be worn if staff/students so choose.

With everybody helping and working together, we can keep Covid-19 out of IH Belfast!  Thank you all for your help and continued support.

 

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

 

What date will classes resume?

IH Belfast will reopen on 10 August.

 

Will all courses be available?

All classes will be available to join here at the school in Belfast or online.

 

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. It will be up to our home stays to decide whether you can self isolate in their home or if you will need to find alternative accommodation. If alternative accommodation is required this will be at the student’s 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.

We are here to help, so should you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us at study@ihbelfast.com