Updated 5th March, 2021
In October 2020 we made the difficult decision not to run our courses in the summer of 2021. Since then, vaccines have been produced and the UK has already vaccinated over 20 million people. So what is the situation at WEC now?
Regrettably, we still feel that it would not be right to run courses next summer. Here is why:
The UK programme of vaccination will not be completed until the autumn of 2021. Social distancing and other precautions will still be necessary this summer. Some of the activities in our very full programme would not be possible. Others would not be as much fun as usual if students have to wear masks and keep apart from the other students.
Students who have not been vaccinated would be placed in ‘bubbles’, which means that each student would have to stay with the students in his or her class and not interact closely with students from the other classes. This would include the journey to and from school and all free-time activities. Friends coming on a course together would not be together at all unless they were placed in the same class.
Any students showing symptoms of covid during their stay in Weymouth would currently have to self-isolate at their homestay for 10 days. Students in isolation and due to travel home before the end of the 10 day period would not be allowed to travel on that date. This would also involve additional costs for the extended accommodation, change of flight, etc.
If any students in a bubble showed symptoms of covid, all the students in that bubble would have to self-isolate for 10 days. It is likely that some students would not be able to return home on their due dates. This would also involve additional costs for the extended accommodation, change of flight, etc.
If a member of a homestay showed symptoms then all students staying with that homestay, as well as all the students in the same "bubble" would also need to self-isolate.
Lessons would start and finish at different times for each bubble and break and lunch times would also be at different times.. Whereas WEC students can choose their own activities on their free-time programme, this would no longer work: their activities would be fixed in advance and changes would not be possible. Students coming to Weymouth with friends but who are not placed in the same class would not be in the same bubble as their friends for activities.
At the moment the UK has a ist of 33 "red" countries. Anyone travelling from or through any of these countries is not allowed entry into the UK.
All other people coming to the UK must currently provide proof of a negative coronavirus test, must quarantine for 10 days and take two more coronavirus tests during that time. It is not yet clear how long this rule will last, but quarantining for the first 10 days of a 14 or 21 day course is clearly not a good thing!
At the moment there are not many flights in and out of the UK. It is not yet clear when airlines will schedule more flights.
Even when restrictions are relaxed, the UK government will reimpose them if the rate of infection rises again, so it would not be possible for us to guarantee that any courses would take place as planned. We do not want students to book a course and flights ony to find that their courses have to be cancelled.
All of the above means that we would not be able to provide the fun-packed learning experience for which we are known. In the interests of our students, staff and homestays, we will not be running courses in the summer of 2021. We hope to be operating courses as normal in the summer of 2022.
We will review the situation and update this page regularly.
Updated 5th March, 2021