Since Covid-19 pandemic and worldwide lockdowns with travel restrictions, All Africa Tours has been preparing for when the re-opening of borders happens to allow for safe educational travel once more.
In South Africa, we saw the domestic market opening first in 2020 under Lockdown Level 2 followed by the international market opening again when we have Lockdown Level 1. Whether there is a cure or successful vaccine for Covid-19, procedures need to be put in place for safe, healthy travel.
Stringent health procedures will be necessary for the near future which will be continually re-assessed as further scientific research becomes available as per WHO and individual countries health departments.
Policy and Procedures during Covid-19 as of January 2021
All Africa Tours will adhere as far as possible, during all operating times, to the Travel and Tourism Industry Standard, as issued by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, which will be updated from time to time, and we will continue to so adhere, until such Protocols are rescinded or replaced by alternative industry health and safety operating protocols. All Africa Tours recognises our critical role to provide safe transport, safe accommodation and safe activities and experiences throughout South Africa in this time of Covid-19 pandemic.
We commit to these Protocols because we understand that we carry utmost responsibility to protect our staff and to protect our guests, passengers, visitors and clients from COVID-19 risk. We further acknowledge that we have a particular duty of care for high-risk staff and high-risk guests, visitors, passengers and clients, with respect to the Coronavirus risk.
We acknowledge and adopt these Protocols in recognition of our role in the tourism industry and to support the aims and measures taken by the leaders of our country, to minimise the spread of Coronavirus, flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic and to further the wellbeing of all of the people of South Africa.
To do this, we have put in place the following protocols:
Bus Transport: all coaches will need to be 70% of capacity as laid down by SA Department of Transport during Covid-19 to make social distancing easier. Everyone is to wear a mask when on the coach including the driver. Every time anyone enters the coach, hands must be cleaned using hand sanitiser. Each person will be allocated a designated seat for the duration of the tour so as to create a ‘healthy bubble’ around that person. At the beginning of the tour, the coach will have undergone a deep clean and decontamination of all surface areas and supply fresh disposable headrest covers. During the tour, the coach is to be cleaned and disinfected including handrails and the toilet, at the end of each day. Before and after using the onboard toilet, each person must use hand sanitizer and at each rest stop, the driver will wipe down surfaces using a disinfectant. If anyone on tour gets Covid-19 symptoms and needs to be isolated, the coach will need to be professionally deep cleaned and decontaminated before being used again.
Accommodation: Each child and adult will have their own bed with clean linen. The beds will be as far away from each other as possible to allow for social distancing. The accommodation will be deep cleaned before the school arrives and the rooms will not be serviced during the client stay to avoid contamination. The accommodation’s common areas, kitchen and dining rooms will be sterilized 3 times a day. Staff who need to enter a bedroom, will wear a mask, gloves and sanitise their footwear before entering the room. All crockery and cutlery will be cleaned with hot soapy water and a mild disinfectant like Milton if not washed in industrial dish washers. At all establishments staff will wear a mask and gloves if they are handling food.
Restaurants : Buffets are only allowed if for one specific school group otherwise food will be plated. Kitchen staff will wear masks and gloves. Menus will either be disposable or sanitised before each person handles it. Waitrons will stand 1 metre away from guests’ table. Social distancing of table groups will be catered for as far as possible.
Activities :All activities will be performed using social distancing. When arriving and departing a place, hand sanitiser will be used and the washing of hands with soap and clean water. Any equipment needed will be disinfected before each child and adult uses it. Masks must be worn whenever possible.
PPE’s : Each person on tour must have at least 2 cloth masks, 3 layers thick, or enough surgical masks so that each day a clean mask can be worn. At the end of the day, each person is to wash their mask with warm soapy water and hang it up to dry, in the sun if possible, for the next day. At the end of the day, surgical mask straps must be cut so that no one else can wear them nor animals being trapped in them. Masks must be worn on the bus at all times and during activities. The only time masks need not be worn is when abluting, eating and drinking and swimming. Correct use of masks, hand hygiene and cough etiquette into the elbow, will be demonstrated at the start of a tour and continually emphasized by the teachers as well as the All Africa Tours guides. Clean water and soap will be supplied at all places visited and accommodations to enable the regular washing of hands. Each person must also have their own small bottle of hand sanitiser to carry with them at all times in their day pack. There will also be hand sanitiser at the coach entrance supplied by the coach company. This is to be used every time someone gets on the coach. It is recommended that each person also has their own packet of sanitising wet wipes so that they can wipe down their own space on the coach, table space before dining as well as wiping down their cutlery before using.
Health Status: Each person on tour will need to fill in a questionnaire of their medical history and present health status a week before the tour. The teachers are to keep these forms with them at all times. This form will also be updated on the day of departure and everybody’s temperature will be recorded before departure. The health status of each person will be checked every morning at breakfast and each person’s temperature will be taken using a distance thermometer. This is to be recorded by a teacher.
For local schools, if a person’s temperature is over 38 degrees Celsius and /or they display 2 or more Covid related symptoms, they and their room mates will need to be isolated (under a teacher’s supervision) in their own room and the parents are to fetch those children as soon as possible. Others who have been in close contact to that person, will be monitored closely throughout the rest of the tour. The shared room will also need to be deep cleaned and all bedding replaced before the room is used again.
For international schools, each person entering the country will need to have proof of having had a ‘negative’ result PCR Covid test 72 hours before entering SA or the vaccine and to have comprehensive travel and medical insurance even though Covid is generally excluded from all Travel Insurance. If an international child develops a temperature and another Covid symptom whilst on tour in SA, a teacher will accompany the child to be tested for Covid-19 at a private facility in South Africa. While waiting for the result, the child will be isolated in his/her room taking all meals in the room too. Other room mates will be allocated another room. In the unlikely event of the result being positive for Covid-19, the whole tour group will need to self-isolate for 5 days and thereafter have Covid tests. Those who test negative can then continue with the tour. Those who test positive will quarantine for 10 days before being tested again. Once a negative test result is achieved, flights home will be arranged. Depending on the age of the child, a supervising teacher will be designated to the sick child until he/she has recovered and is fit for travel. All Africa Tours will assist as far as possible, but all extra costs incurred will be born by the parents or school.
Together we can make student educational travel possible.