EIL Intercultural Learning has treated the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic with the utmost seriousness and are following best practice guidelines outlined by the Government to the fullest. The safety of our host families, local schools, visiting students and the wider community is of primary importance to EIL.
The numbers of students and the nationalities of students who arrived in August 2020 were greatly reduced and multiple checks and precautions were rigorously in place to protect everybody involved. For example:
- All students completed a PCR COVID test in the 72 hours prior to leaving their home country. No student who tested positive or was without test results was allowed to travel to Ireland.
- No student traveled on public transport – private transfers were arranged for all students.
- 14 days restricted movement on arrival in Ireland. The HSE definition of “Restricted Movement” can be found here: https://bit.ly/3g2YSa2 All host families and students were advised to strictly follow these protocols.
- Pre-arrival briefings in students’ native languages with regard to expectations around restricting movements during their first 14 days in Ireland
- On arrival Zoom briefings that outlined the rules of the programme, COVID signs, symptoms and protocol and regular check-ins from the students’ Local Coordinators. Specific attention is focused on the importance of the wearing of face masks, social distancing and hand sanitisation guidelines in schools.
- Each student is required to download and use the COVID 19 Tracing App on a daily basis
- A 24/7 Emergency helpline is in place to respond immediately to any situations that may arise
Everybody is rightly concerned about safety. This also includes the students themselves, and their parents.
EIL Ireland is fully cognisant of the responsibility we have to the safety and welfare of host families, schools and local communities. We work closely with our team of local coordinators to ensure that all Covid 19 protocols and guidelines are strictly adhered to. We will do everything in our power to assure that this is complied with, and will take any necessary action should, for any reason, this transpires to not be the case.
International students are a rich asset in any school. For the student involved it is a once-in-a-lifetime intercultural learning experience, but for the local community it is an opportunity to learn about the world on their own doorstep. In many cases parents of these students have been saving for years to give their children the opportunity to study in Ireland and for them, the decision to proceed is not taken lightly. Nobody wants to put their children in harm’s way, and parents and host families involved have very carefully weighed up the risks involved.