English Wizards COVID-19 FAQ
This post is accurate and up to date as of April 27th 2021 and will be continuously updated as the situation unfolds.
In light of numerous questions we’ve been receiving from both current and future program participants, English Wizards would like to make the following announcement regarding the COVID-19 situation and how it may affect your current and/or future participation in the English Wizards program.
Before we go any further, we would like to answer the #1 question that’s probably on your mind:
All English Wizards programs are continuing to operate and accept new applications. We have not cancelled any of our programs since the pandemic hit Poland last spring, and we have no intention of doing so in the future.
Polish students are continuing to study English, and thus schools are continuing to be in search of qualified ESL teachers. This has been the case since the SARS-CoV-2 virus first hit Poland in March, and we do not foresee the demand for the English language in Poland going down anytime in the near future.
As of June 2021, life in Poland has almost completely returned to ‘normal.’ Schools, shopping centers, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs have reopened without restrictions, and sporting events and other large gatherings are running at near full capacity. Although not completely spared from the economic recession that came with the pandemic, Poland’s economy remains one of the strongest in Europe. Throughout 2020 and the first half of 2021, we have not seen any decrease in the demand for native English teachers. Despite some restrictions on international travel, none of our Wizards have had any issues traveling to Poland from their home countries this year. Moving forward, we can only see the situation improving as Poland rolls out a massive vaccination drive.
As you probably have many more questions, we have prepared a detailed FAQ to answer as many questions as possible. If you have any more questions, you are always welcome to contact us and we will respond promptly.
"What's the situation currently like in Poland? Is there a %22lockdown?"
With the success of Poland’s vaccine rollout in the winter and spring of 2021, the country has reopened almost entirely. From the middle of May, almost every sector of the Polish economy – education, music, gastronomy, nightlife, sports, retail, and of course education – has reopened with few restrictions.
As of writing, remaining restrictions include mandatory mask-wearing in some indoor public places, and a capacity limit of 50% for certain large gatherings such as nightclubs, cinemas, sports stadiums, concerts, and weddings.
The most up-to-date information on Poland’s pandemic restrictions and the plan to lift them can be found on the Ministry of Health’s official website (in Polish).
"Are schools in Poland open and hiring new teachers?"
They sure are!
Preschools in Poland re-opened their doors in early May 2020 after the first wave of COVID-19, and by the end of June most private language centers (where the majority of Wizards work) had reopened their doors.
Public schools resumed live classes at the start of the new academic year in September, and with that, the business was booming again for after-school language centers. English Wizards welcomed over 100 teachers from all over the world onto our program in the fall, and we saw the normal massive hiring wave in September and October with schools all over the country rushing to hire new teachers for the academic year.
With the spike of cases in mid-October, public and private schools for children aged 10 and up went back to online education. However, unlike in the spring of 2020, the government has allowed preschools and language centers to remain open throughout 2021, so very few of our Wizards were affected by this regulation.
On May 28th, the remainder of schools and universities reopened for in-person education to much excitement of the Polish education industry. In other words: We predict a massively busy fall semester for the education industry!
"Will I be required to wear a mask while teaching? Will my class be limited in size?"
Currently, there are no requirements for mask-wearing or social distancing in the classroom.
Nevertheless, we remind all of our Wizards that they must respect the school’s social distancing measures. Despite the lack of a legal requirement, many schools have required teachers and/or students to wear a mask in the classroom, or have limited classroom activities to those which can be practiced at a safe distance. It is important to discuss all of this with your school’s director.
"Are Poland's borders open? Will I be able to enter?"
Although Poland’s external EU borders remain closed to tourism, all of our non-EU Wizards arriving to Poland come with work permits and/or residence visas. Poland is continuing to allow travelers of all nationalities to enter provided that they have a work permit or residence visa. We are continuing to assist all of our non-EU Wizards in obtaining the necessary documentation to work legally in Poland, and enter Poland without any trouble.
"Will Poland's travel restrictions make it more difficult for me to get to Poland? "
If you’re coming from outside the EU, travel restrictions may make things slightly more challenging, though by no means impossible.
During normal times, most non-EU citizens can come to Poland without a visa and apply for their work permit and residence visa within Poland. Unfortunately, due to current travel restrictions, this is not possible, as most non-EU nationals can only enter Poland with a valid work permit or residence visa. This is what we always encourage our Wizards to do, so it should not prove to be a deal-breaker. For more information, see our visas section.
Travel restrictions also mean that fewer people are traveling, so there are also fewer flights available. This means that you may find it more difficult to find a flight from your country to Poland and the flights that are available will likely be more expensive than during normal times. Luckily for our Wizards, our support staff are experts in the travel industry and are assisting each one of our Wizards in arranging the most affordable and convenient travel as possible.
"Is there a requirement to quarantine or get tested for COVID-19 in order to travel to Poland?"
From March 30th, all international travelers arriving in Poland must get tested for SARS-CoV-2 within 48 hours of arrival. All international airports in Poland are currently offering rapid antigen COVID tests to arriving travelers for between 100 and 200 PLN (about €25 – €50). Any travelers who refuse to get tested (or test positive) must self-quarantine for 10 days.
For travelers with a negative SARS-CoV-2 test, there is no longer any requirement to self-isolate. Furthermore, travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are also exempt from the requirement to get tested or self-isolate.
Full information on the requirements to enter Poland can be found on the website of the Polish Border Guard (in Polish).
"Is it possible that Poland will reinstate border restrictions and I'll be unable to travel?"
It is always possible that Poland may tighten border controls if the case numbers increase in neighboring countries. But the chances that this will make it impossible for you to come to Poland as an English Wizard are extremely slim.
Even during Poland’s strictest travel ban, enacted in mid-March 2020, which banned almost all non-Polish citizens from entering Poland, foreigners with work permits or residence visas were still allowed to enter. Poland’s economy relies heavily on foreign migrant workers, so it is extremely unlikely that the Polish government will extend any travel ban to include holders of work visas.
It is possible (though unlikely) that the obligation to self-quarantine for 10 days may be reinstated, as it recently was during the winter holiday period from late December until mid-January. For this reason, we are reminding all of our Wizards to prepare for the possibility that a ten-day self-quarantine may be required.
"If I am vaccinated against COVID-19, am I exempt from these travel restrictions?"
"If I have to quarantine, do I have to pay for this?"
When required, Poland’s mandatory quarantine is a self-quarantine, meaning you spend the ten days of quarantine in your own home or place of residence. So no, you do not have to pay a fee or use any government facilities. But you must have a place of residence. This could be any hotel, hostel, or Airbnb.
If you do not have accommodation arranged prior to arriving, we recommend looking into our accommodation packages for comfortable and affordable places to spend your possible 10 days of self-quarantine.
"Will it be possible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in Poland?"
Poland is an active participant in the EU’s COVID vaccine rollout and is delivering the vaccine at a faster rate than many of its Western European neighbors. All persons living in Poland legally, including foreigners, are eligible to receive the vaccine, free of charge, on the same grounds as Polish citizens.
As of writing, all persons in Poland over 18 years of age can receive the vaccine. The process of registering for the vaccine as a foreigner is extremely painless, and we having been helping our Wizards with it since the vaccine rollout began.
For more information about the vaccine rollout in Poland, see the Polish government’s official website (in Polish).
"Which COVID-19 vaccines are available in Poland?"
As of writing, the AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are being distributed to the general public in Poland. Vaccine recipients are given a choice of which vaccine they wish to receive.
"For personal or medical reasons, I have decided not to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Will I face any restrictions or discrimination?"
The vaccine against COVID-19 is 100% voluntary in Poland, and the government has not announced any sort of “vaccine passport” initiative.
However, as of writing, if you are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 when arriving in Poland, you must get tested for COVID-19 within 48 hours or self-isolate for 10 days. If you wish to travel around Europe, you may face similar requirements to get tested and/or self-isolate when crossing borders. But beyond that, there are no further restrictions on being unvaccinated. The European Parliament has made it very clear that, outside of crossing borders, EU states cannot be giving out privileges based on vaccine status.
"I am from the United States. I've read that Americans are currently banned from entering the European Union. How will I be able to travel to Poland? "
As of writing, many EU countries have reopened to vaccinated Americans, however most EU countries (including Poland) are currently prohibiting Americans and most other non-EU nationals from traveling to their countries for the purpose of tourism. This ban explicitly exempts people with residence visas and those traveling for work-related purposes. This exemption includes all of our Wizards.
We are continuing to accept Americans on all of our programs, and thus far none of our American Wizards have had any trouble entering Poland with the work permit that we provide and residence visa obtained from the Polish consulates in the US.
"I am from Australia. Our government is currently not allowing us to leave our country. How will I be able to travel to Poland?"
Many governments around the world, including Australia, are continuing to bar their citizens from traveling abroad for tourism purposes. The governments of Australia has explicitly listed overseas travel for the purposes of work as an exemption from their restrictions, provided that you have a work permit and residence visa from the country you are traveling to
We have already assisted a number of Australian Wizards in safely traveling to Poland and can provide all the necessary documentation. Thus far none have had any issues leaving their country nor entering Poland.
"Once I am in Poland, will I be able to travel around Europe?"
For the most part, yes!
If you are not an EU citizen, you will have a Polish residence visa and/or Residence Permit, which will make you a resident of Poland in the eyes of other EU countries. This will allow you to travel to almost all EU countries that Polish citizens are currently allowed to visit.
We still remind our Wizards that every EU country is implementing travel restrictions differently, and many are still not welcoming Polish residents for tourism purposes, so it is very important to do your research before traveling. The European Union maintains a simple online resource of travel restrictions on intra-EU travel. We also recommend contacting the embassy of your desired destination country before making any travel arrangements.
"Is English Wizards continuing to host social events?"
We sure are!
We have been continuing to run our Krakow social event calendar throughout 2020 and 2021 whenever possible, in compliance with Poland’s social distancing measures. We plan to launch a calendar of social events in other cities as well this fall
This past winter, we successfully ran the live components of our Internship Programs and in-person orientation week without any issues, and plan to do so again this fall. You can follow our social events from overseas on our Instagram.