COVID-19 Safety Measures for Face-to-Face Classes & FAQ

We are OPEN and teaching face-to-face, online and hybrid classes - come and join us!

In line with UK guidance for schools, we were delighted to welcome students back to our Queens Avenue building from 8th March. Many classes are running in hybrid format, with some students joining us in person but many still joining remotely, either from their home countries or while quarantining after arrival in the UK. While the restrictions in place regarding international travel continue to develop, you can trust that your chosen course at IH Bristol will continue uninterrupted whatever happens. 

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Lockdown measures in England

From 19th July, all coronavirus restrictions in England have been lifted.

Masks are no longer a legal requirement inside public spaces, however we highly recommend they are still worn on public transport and in enclosed public spaces (such as shops), especially if you are not fully vaccinated. 

In school, please note we ask that all students continue to wear masks in communal areas, and as before, it is your choice if you would like to wear one in class or not. Many shops, restaurants etc will also maintain their own individual policies on this.⁠

Latest travel guidance - until 4th October

Until 4th October, the UK is operating a "traffic light" system for arrivals from outside of the UK. If you have been in or travelled through a country or territory on the:

  • Green list - you must take a COVID-19 test within 3 days before travelling, and on or before Day 2 after arrival
  • Amber list (adults fully vaccinated in EU, EFTA or US or children under 18 resident in EU or US)* You must take a pre-departure COVID-19 test within 3 days before travelling, and take a PCR test on or before Day 2 after your arrival. You do not need to self-isolate on arrival.
  • Amber list (other) - you must take a COVID-19 test within 3 days before travelling, and you must quarantine for 10 days in the place you’re staying. You must then take 2 COVID-19 PCR tests, on or before Day 2 and Day 8 after arrival. You can also take an OPTIONAL extra test on day 5, and if the result is negative you can end your quarantine immediately, as part of the 'Test to release' scheme
  • Red list - you cannot enter the country (unless you are a British or Irish national, in which case you must quarantine in a government-arranged hotel

You can check which countries are in which category on the government's website here

*If you are arriving from an amber list country from 4am on Monday 2nd August onwards and you have been fully vaccinated in Europe (EU or EFTA, with a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency or Swiss vaccination programme) or you are under 18 (and ordinarily resident in the EU), you are no longer required to self-isolate. You must still take a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on or before Day 2 after arrival. If you are arriving from Spain, you are advised to take a pre-departure PCR test rather than an antigen test.

You can read the full update from the UK government about changes to arrivals from the EU here

Travel guidance - from 4th October onwards

From 4am on Monday 4th October the 'traffic light' system will end, and will be replaced by a single 'red list' and 'rest of the world. If you are travelling from a country not on the red list, the requirements will depend on your vaccination status. 

  • If you are travelling from a country not on the red list and you are fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine*, you will no longer need to take a Pre Departure Test when travelling to England. You must still complete a Passenger Locator Form and take a test on or before Day 2 after arrival (PCR test, cheaper lateral flow test accepted from late October, date TBC). 
  • If you are travelling from a country not on the red list and you are not fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine, you will still be required to take a pre-departure test, and after arrival must self-isolate for 10 days, and take a Day 2 and Day 8 PCR test.
  • Travel is only permitted from a 'red list' country if you have residence rights in the UK. If this is the case, you must arrange a quarantine hotel package.

*To be considered fully vaccinated, you must have received either on the following at least 14 days before travel:

  • an approved vaccination program in the UK, Europe, US or UK vaccine programme overseas
  • a full course of the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen vaccines from a relevant public health body in Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea or Taiwan – mixing between two-dose vaccines (Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna) in this list is also recognised
  • a formally approved COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial in the US, Canada and Australia and have a proof of participation (digital or paper-based) from a public health body

From the end of October 2021:

  • Eligible fully vaccinated passengers and those with an approved vaccine from a select group of non-red countries will be able to replace their day 2 test with a cheaper lateral flow test. Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test, at no additional cost to the traveller, these will be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants.
  • Passengers who change flights or international trains during their journey will be able to follow the measures associated to their country of departure, rather than any countries they have transited through as part of their journey.

If you are travelling from a country not on the red list and you are unvaccinated (and therefore required to self-isolate in the UK) - don't worry! We can provide accommodation and online lessons during this time. See below or contact us to find out more

Please note these guidelines are subject to change - we will keep this page updated as often as we can however you can also check the UK government guidance directly here

What we expect of our students:

  • We will ask you to complete our online Travel & Health Declaration before you travel/start your course, so we can make sure all students are safe to join us. If you or anyone you have been in contact with in the past 10 days has shown symptoms of COVID-19, you must not travel to the UK. Main symptoms are:
    • a high temperature
    • a new, continuous cough
    • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
    • a flu-like illness with fever (temperature above 37.8C) and at least one of the following respiratory symptoms, which must be of acute onset: persistent cough (with orwithout sputum), hoarseness, nasal discharge or congestion, shortness or breath, sore throat, wheezing, sneezing
  • You must inform IH Bristol if you have pre-existing health conditions which mean you are in the COVID-19 high risk categories.
  •  At school, you must wear a mask in communal areas (even after 19th July) In class you can decide for yourself. Please bring your own masks (and extra masks) with you to school every day, and for social events.
  • Each time you enter/leave the school, you must sign in/out using the QR code scanner/google form and wash your hands - please make sure you have a QR code scanner installed on your phone in advance. 
  • You are expected to follow IH Bristol’s COVID-19 posters on handwashing, hand-sanitising, and social distancing
  • If you sneeze or cough, use a tissue, and place this securely in a bin.  If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze/cough into your elbow.
  • It is a good idea to bring your own water bottle each day.

What IH Bristol will do for you:

  • We have a maximum number of students per class according to social distancing rules. This will be different for each classroom size.
  • Classroom and student spaces have been designed to ensure social distancing rules can be observed. 
  • We will ventilate rooms as much as possible while the school is open.
  • Hand sanitisers are available for students at the entrance and at various locations in communal areas/corridors. Please use these regularly and before and after you touch common areas (snack and drink machines, for example).
  • In addition to our cleaning company, staff regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched items around the school each day: door handles, flush plates, microwave, etc; the areas of the school being used by students.
  • A one-way system in some areas: stairs and students’ rooms – follow the arrows.
  • Accommodation facilities will comply with the COVID-19 related new regulations imposed by the local authorities.



  • Homestays have been asked to inform us if they or anyone in their household are in the high-risk categories and we will avoid placing students with these families.
  • We currently only accept bookings for single rooms. Related family members can share a bedroom, but please enquire in advance.
  • If you need to self-isolate at your homestay, we will support and advise you and your host throughout this time
  • Additional emergency accommodation is available if necessary
  • We continue to keep homestay families updated with guidance on social distancing

Residence - St John’s House:

  • Students staying in self-catering accommodation will be provided with clear guidance to ensure their safety.
  • Measures have been taken to ensure the residences are COVID-19 safe. Common areas in the self-catering residences will be sanitised daily and cleaned by professional cleaners weekly. Students will be expected to keep the houses clean and work surfaces clear.
  • There are measures in place in case you need to self-isolate in line with current government guidance.
  • We will ensure backup/emergency accommodation is available should it be needed.
  • The residence warden lives at the residence with you and is there to help you when needed.
  • Please note visitors are not currently permitted

Good to Go

We're delighted to have been awarded "We're Good to go" status by Visit England.

This industry standard mark means that International House Bristol is following government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, ensuring processes and policies are in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing.⁠ 

Find out more here



Are all courses available?

Yes, our full range of courses is available and from 8th March 2021 many of our daily (Monday-Friday) courses will be hybrid, with some students joining us in person and many continuing to join online. If you book a face-to-face course you can move online during your course if required (for example, if you need to self-isolate but are well) however if you book an online course you can only study online, unless you upgrade.

We will be running all summer courses (for adults and juniors) as normal.

Find out more about: 

What do I need to prepare?

Please follow our COVID-19 guidance listed above and complete our Health & Travel Declaration here. If you have shown any symptoms of COVID-19, or have been in contact with someone showing symptoms, you must inform us, even if it means we need to postpone your course (don’t worry – there won’t be a charge for this). The health and safety of our staff and students is our highest priority.

If you have a medical condition that could put you at additional risk (for example asthma) you must inform us as per our standard terms & conditions. It is your own decision to travel (or your parents', if you are under 18), so please make sure you are aware of any risks associated.

Masks are mandatory in communal areas in school and in all indoor public spaces, so make sure to bring enough with you for the duration of your stay. Hand sanitiser is provided throughout the school building, but you may wish to bring your own for use out and about.

We are currently using e-coursebooks for all daytime group classes, so please bring a laptop or tablet device with you so you can access (please also ensure your laptop/device is charged!)

Most businesses in the UK now prefer card payments (contactless if possible) so be prepared to pay this way.

Do I need to self-isolate on arrival to the UK?

Currently, the UK is operating a 'traffic light' system - please see above for the latest guidance.

If you are travelling from a country NOT on the "red list" you can self-isolate with your host family or in our residence. If you are a self-funded student and your course is 10+ weeks long we are currently offering 1 week of homestay accommodation free of charge - please contact us directly for more details.
You can join our lessons from your host family or residence (or other accommodation if you've arranged your own) for the duration of isolation. It's best to bring a laptop or tablet for this.

How do I get to and from the airport safely?

Public transport is available, however, we recommend booking our normal private taxi transfer service to and from the airport. Passengers are required to wear masks for the duration of the journey and only 1 passenger is permitted per taxi, unless members of the same household are travelling together. 

Can I travel around Bristol safely?

Yes, public transport is running as normal. From 19th July 2021 it is no longer required by law to wear a face covering on all public transport, however we strongly recommend you do, especially if you are not fully vaccinated.

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 postpone your course and accommodation with no penalty (however if you cancel your English course, your course deposit is non-refundable). 

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.

Once you begin your course, our standard Terms & Conditions apply.

What happens if I get symptoms of Covid-19 before I travel?

Please inform us immediately; we will likely need to postpone your booking - but don’t worry - we won’t charge you extra course fees and we will re-arrange the course for you. We want you to be safe and well so you can enjoy your course with us.

What happens if I get symptoms of Covid-19 after I arrive in Bristol?

On your first day at school, we will remind you of the main COVID symptoms. Students must tell IH Bristol immediately if they develop any symptoms.

  • If you are at school, you will be asked to self-isolate in a room, phone the NHS 119 number (we can help) and follow the advice given. If you are at home, please do the same. If you are with a homestay, you can ask for help, and call our school office/Emergency Phone.
  • If you have symptoms or have tested positive with COVID-19, you must self-isolate at home for at least 10 days. Our team will be in regular contact with you to support you, to make sure you have what you need, to help with any phone calls in English, etc. You can find the latest NHS guidance here
  • Where possible, we will move you to online lessons so you can continue learning while self-isolating (there is no difference in cost for this). If you are too ill to have classes, this is a standard absence as per our Terms & Conditions
  • If a period of self-isolation ends after your planned departure from the UK, or you become ill and are unable to travel, you will need to extend your stay at your own cost but only for accommodation.
  • If you have been in close contact with someone from the school who tests positive with COVID-19, you will be contacted and advised to self-isolate for 10 days (UK latest advice).

What is open in Bristol?

From 19th July, all restrictions are lifted. We do still strongly recommend wearing a mask or face covering when entering shops and indoor attractions, especially if you are not fully vaccinated. 

Do I need insurance?

Yes. Although your course and accommodation with IH Bristol can be postponed or cancelled with no charge, we cannot accept any responsibility for any other costs incurred during your trip - for example flights or extension of accommodation should you need to isolate. You can find our recommended insurance options here.

Why do I still need to take a test on day 2 if I've been fully vaccinated?

This helps the UK government in its COVID-19 variants surveillance. Additionally it will pick up those very rare occasions when somebody is infected despite having been fully vaccinated, having had a pre departure COVID-19 test and is not showing any symptoms.


*All advice is based on current UK government guidance correct as of 20th September 2021. If anything changes, we will update our policies and this webpage immediately and advise staff and students.
We are here to help, so should you have any further questions please don't hesitate to get in contact with us on / +44 117 9090911


We look forward to seeing you!