The end of the school year spans several weeks for us here at Bright World, with students starting to leave in early June, after examinations, and with departures continuing right through until mid-July. School boarding staff close up shop and have a well-deserved break over the summer. Once the school gates close, as guardians, we take over and make sure students get home safely.
We thought it would be interesting to give our readers an insight into a typical departure week for Bright World staff. This year has been particularly troublesome, as the travel restrictions and testing requirements related to Covid-19 are still impacting student travel. We are pleased that we have been able to help so many of our students with the many issues that have arisen.
A young student, who had spent the night with her host family, realised half way to the airport that she had left her passport behind. There was no time to return for the passport without her missing her flight. We acted quickly and arranged for another driver, near to the family, to collect the passport and try and reach the airport in time.
The student's driver stayed with her until her passport arrived - just in the nick of time - and ensured that she was able to check in safely, and continue on her journey home for the summer.
One of our students was looking forward to returning home to Hong Kong for the holidays. Her parents had told us that they had arranged her PCR test and that this had come back negative. She just needed a Bright World driver to take her to the airport. Unfortunately, they had not booked the correct type of PCR test and the student was not be permitted to fly. There are very specific guidelines in Hong Kong as to what test is taken and which clinics tests can be taken.
We acted swiftly; arranged an overnight host family, and booked another test, that would meet the requirements for travel to Hong Kong, before arranging transport to the host family. The next day another driver delivered her to the airport on time and she got home safely.
The parents of another student assured us that all was organised for their son's flight home and that the school was organising his travel to the airport. However, on arrival at the airport, while they were on their own and checking in, the student was told that he needed a PCR test as a requirement of the airline to travel home. He called our emergency telephone and we jumped into action. We arranged for a test to be taken at the airport with fast results and he was able to get on a later flight the same day.
Flights to China remain heavily restricted. There are no direct flights between the UK and China, and those that are available are infrequent and require a connection partway through the journey.
One of our students was booked on a weekly flight to Beijing via Stockholm. Two days before they were due to travel, that the flight had been cancelled. With the next scheduled flight a week away, we arranged a lovely host family near to the airport, until the new flight date. We also booked a new set of time-sensitive tests, in order to comply with airline requirements.
One of our students, who was really looking forward to going home, started feeling a little unwell a few days before the end of her school term. She took a Lateral Flow Test and it returned a positive result. With the school closing and our student unable to travel, we arranged for her to stay with one of our risk-assessed isolation host families, until she received a negative Covid-19 result and was able to fly home.
This year, some students are still unfortunately unable to make the journey home. This is particularly true for those from Mainland China and Hong Kong, due to the restricted flight routes and quarantine requirements at home. We have extended our services through the summer holidays offering accommodation in host families and on residential programmes until school starts again in September.