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COVID-19 update for school transport

What is happening with school transport in September?

Arrangements in September will not be a return to pre-pandemic normality, but a step towards it. Accordingly, the council has taken recently issued Government guidance and has already been liaising with schools and transport operators about what is possible when term begins.

Government guidance says that each coach or bus can be its own ‘bubble or segment’ and that social distancing need not apply on dedicated Home to School transport, as the overall risk from Covid-19 to children and young people is very low. Therefore, the council will continue to provide one return journey on vehicles on school days, commencing on the first day of term. It has also suspended the ‘vacant seats’ scheme to increase spacing on buses.

Pupils will board on the basis of distance from school – so those who live furthest will board first and sit at the back, while those who live closest will board last and sit at the front. There is no requirement to sit in year or age groupings and pupils must only travel on the bus they are allocated to.

Vehicles will be ventilated and operators will be undertaking additional daily cleaning. Parents are asked to provide children with face coverings to be worn during the journey, pupils to use the hand sanitiser provided at the entrance to the vehicle and to use the same seat each time. It is also recommended that pupils wash hands after arriving at school and before and after their journey home.

And, of course, we would ask that pupils queue, board and disembark in an orderly manner. 

Will my child be required to wear a face covering on school transport?

If your child travels on local bus services or rail that are also open to the general public it is compulsory to wear face coverings, unless your child is in one of the government guidance exemption criteria.

If you child travels on contracted school transport it is highly recommended that pupils wear a face covering.

Will the school or bus companies be providing face coverings?

It is the parent’s responsibility to provide face covering for their child.

How will social distancing be ensured at bus stops?

It is a parent responsibility to ensure their child behaves responsibly while waiting for the vehicle, this includes social distancing.

What are you doing to ensure the safety of my child while travelling on the school vehicle?

Children will be asked to use the same seat each day.  Pupils will board on the basis of distance from school – so those who live furthest will board first and sit at the back, while those who live closest will board last and sit at the front. Pupils will also be encouraged to use hand sanitiser on boarding the vehicle.  It is expected that pupils will have washed their hands before boarding the vehicle and upon arrival at school.

What cleaning measures are the bus companies following to ensure the vehicle is clean?

  • The bus companies will be carrying out additional vehicle cleaning.
  • Hand Sanitizer will be available on the vehicle for pupils to use. We would encourage pupils to use this as they board the vehicle.
  • Operators should provide good vehicle ventilation when carrying passengers this could be a simple as keeping windows open.

Will pupils be kept in their year group bubbles on transport?

No, Government guidance says that each coach or bus can be its own ‘bubbles or segments’ and that social distancing need not apply on dedicated Home to School transport, as the overall risk from Covid-19 to children and young people is very low. Therefore, the council will continue to provide one return journey on vehicles on school days, commencing on the first day of term. It has also suspended the ‘vacant seats’ scheme to increase spacing on buses.

If I chose not to put my child on the school transport and take them myself, will I be able to claim for my travelling expenses?

No, unfortunately parents will not be reimbursed for travelling expenses, this is because we have provided transport in line with our statutory duty and if a parent chooses not to use the school transport this is at their own discretion.

Will temporary vacant seats be reinstated for September 2020?

The temporary vacant seat scheme is suspended at present to increase space on school transport for entitled pupils. Parents can still make an application and go on a waiting list. 

 


 

For more detailed information, please see the full guidance document (798 KB).

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