What is Coronavirus?
1. If you have not yet booked a place for this summer and wish to do so in anticipation that things will improve, you can now make a no commitment booking: we will not expect your deposit payment until at least the end of April when hopefully you will be able to make an informed choice about your child’s participation. Please note that no contract with ECS exists until the deposit payment is received, so if you want to be sure of a place this summer and are happy to defer to Summer 2021 if necessary then you should send your deposit payment regardless.
2. If your child is unable to attend this summer for reasons directly connected to Coronavirus (COVID-19) we encourage you to defer the place to Summer 2021. If you prefer to cancel the booking you may be able to reclaim some or all of your payment from our insurers - see below.
3. If we cancel the course this summer we encourage you to defer the place to Summer 2021. If you prefer we will refund all payments you have made minus any bank charges incurred in returning the payment.
After discussions with our insurers our best understanding of the current situation is:
ECS, 18 March 2020
What is Coronavirus and should I be worried for my child attending an English Language course in England this summer?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an illness that can affect the lungs and airways of sufferers. The danger of a virus can be measured in two ways:
1. By the total number of people who contract the virus and the number of deaths resulting.
2. By the danger to an individual who contracts the virus.
On the first measure - the total number of people - there is concern over COVID-19 because the virus appears to spread easily between people. A large number of people infected with anything - including ordinary flu (influenza) - will result in a correspondingly large number of deaths.
The question that will concern most parents is the second one: ie. ‘What is the risk to my child from Coronavirus?’ The answer at the time of writing appears to be, ‘Not much’.
At the time of writing the mortality rate for those infected with COVID-19 appears to be around 2% in the epicentre of the outbreak, Hubei province in China, and less than that elsewhere. For comparison, Sars had a death rate of more than 10% and led to 774 deaths while seasonal flu typically has a mortality rate around .1% but results in around 400,000 deaths globally each year. The coronavirus appears to be worse in older people, with few cases in children.
Our advice to parents is to stay alert to updates and to follow local advice. However, if your child is normally healthy, there currently appears to be little cause for alarm.
It is too early to say what impact, if any, Coronavirus / COVID-19 will have on our summer courses. In 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) raised similar concerns. We worked in close cooperation with local health authorities to create an effective response that enabled us to operate successfully throughout the summer. You can read our old H1N1 policy document here. We are monitoring developments over COVID-19 and will produce a similar document in due course.
Should I book a place at ECS for my child this summer?
The short answer is yes. If COVID-19 becomes common in the general population, your child might as well enjoy the summer at ECS as anywhere else. In the unlikely event that your son or daughter contracts COVID-19 while at ECS you can be sure that we will take good care of them. If you postpone booking until you are sure about the progress of the virus you may find that the place is no longer available when you wish to book.
In the current uncertainty over Coronavirus we will not expect your deposit payment until the end of April 2020. Hopefully this will allow sufficient time to make an informed choice about the child's participation. Please note that insurance does not apply and a contract does not exist between ECS and the client until the deposit is paid.
If you book a place for your child at ECS and your child contracts COVID-19 after booking but before attending, he or she will not be able to attend until they are completely better. In this situation our insurer ‘will not be liable for any claim resulting from regulations made by any Government or Public Authority’. But on production of valid evidence that your child was unable to attend ECS due to COVID-19 we promise to carry forward any payments to the following summer or refund any payments made for pupils who are too old to attend in 2021.
We will update this information as and when the situation changes. In the meantime please contact us if you have questions that are not answered by the above.
Director, ECS - English Country Schools
24 February 2020