As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Department for Education has issued guidance for transporting children and young people to school or college in September.
This guidance is summarised below. Taking the guidance into account you may wish to consider, based on your own personal assessment, whether it is possible and more appropriate to take your child to and from school in a car, or if distance permits, they walk or cycle.
Students travelling on dedicated home to school transport (a closed service which no members of the public can use)
No social distancing measures will be put in place on these services. The government believe this is appropriate because:
- the overall risk to students and young people from coronavirus (COVID-19) is very low
- students do not mix with the general public on these journeys
- home to school transport carries the same group of students and young people on a regular basis
However, we ask that the following guidelines are observed:
- Students aged 11 and over should wear a face covering when travelling on school transport. We recognise that some medical conditions or additional needs may make this not possible.
- Students should wash/clean their hands before boarding home to school transport, and when arriving at school or home.
- Students should respect the driver’s personal space and hold back from entering the vehicle until the driver has indicated it is safe to do so, they should then board one by one in an orderly manner.
- On larger vehicles, students should sit in year groups as far as possible – in ascending order, front to back (youngest students at the front of the vehicle). Some schools may draw up seating arrangements for vehicles.
- Students must wherever possible maintain social distancing at pickup points especially where numbers of students are waiting.
- Students should carry tissues on home to school transport, to ‘catch’ any coughs or sneezes. Any used tissues should be bagged and taken off the vehicle to be disposed of by the student when they alight the vehicle. Students must not board home to school transport if they, or a member of their household, has symptoms of coronavirus.
- Any student who starts displaying coronavirus symptoms whilst at their setting will be sent home immediately. The school will make arrangements for them to be collected by a member of their family or household, and they will not be able to travel on home to school transport.
- To avoid close proximity between the driver and passengers, we encourage children to put seatbelts on themselves, wherever possible. Where assistance is required for younger students a parent may assist when boarding at home.
- Those students that travel on DCC home to school transport are also reminded of the Code of Conduct regarding behaviour on the bus.
Students travelling on public transport
At the time of writing, social distancing measures are still in place on public transport which will affect capacity on some services. We are working with colleagues in schools and colleges and bus and rail operators to identify any bus services which may be affected by capacity issues.
In these instances, we will put on additional services, not open to the general public, to coincide with school start and finish times. Please remember that it is a legal requirement that anyone aged 11 and over wears a face covering when travelling on public transport, unless exempt.