20/08/2020 - Permalink

Coronavirus: Guidance issued to help children safely travel to school by bus

Related topics: Children's services / Highways, transport and environmental maintenance

Bus stop markings close up

Shropshire Council has today (Thursday 20 August 2020) published advice and guidance to help children safely travel to school by bus when the new term starts in September.

The document can be seen on the council website, here.

It’s based on the latest Government guidance issued by the Department for Education and the Department for Transport last week – which Shropshire’s draft guidance helped to inform.

It offers important advice for those who rely on public or contracted (dedicated) transport to travel to and from school.

Contracted home-to-school transport will run at full capacity from September 2020, and pupils and students are being asked to avoid using public buses where possible.

On some rural public bus services, Shropshire Council will provide additional buses just for school children and students.

On contracted school buses pupils are being asked to use the same seat every day. Seating arrangements will reflect school year group ‘bubbles’, with the eldest pupils at the rear and the youngest at the front.

To ensure that children stay safe and well while travelling by bus, the guidance also says:

  • Pupils should not travel if feeling unwell or if they or anyone in their household have any Covid-19 symptoms.
  • Pupils should wash their hands, using soap or sanitiser, before and after travel, and as often as possible throughout the day.
  • For pupils aged over 11, face coverings are mandatory on public transport and should be worn on school contracted buses (unless the child is exempt).
  • Pupils should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of the elbow when coughing or sneezing.
  • During the journey, pupils should face forwards, not touch others, not move out of their seat and avoid loud talking, shouting or singing.

Where a child is not entitled to free school transport, Government advice is that they should look to walk or cycle to school as public services are likely to be full. Where parents or carers have no option but to drive pupils to school, they are advised to try and park well away from the school gates.

The Shropshire guidance also has specific advice for pupils with special educational needs.

Ed Potter, Cabinet member for children’s services, said:

“The health and safety of our school children is vitally important at all times, but especially at the moment. We want our pupils – and their parents and carers – to be confident that they can travel safely to school once terms starts next month, and that’s why this guidance is so important.

“I’m extremely grateful to the council’s transport team who have worked incredibly hard to prepare this document ahead of schools going back next month. I’d also like to thank all the schools and transport operators who commented on, and contributed to, the draft version.

“Our draft guidance was shared with the Department for Transport and Department for Education and used to inform and advise the national guidance that was issued last week. It was also shared with councils across the country to help them prepare their guidance documents. This is something we can be incredibly proud of, and people in Shropshire can be sure that we are offering the very best advice, and advice that is held in high regard nationally.”

For full guidance and information parents and carers can call Shropshire Council on 0345 678 9008 or visit the council’s school transport webpage at www.shropshire.gov.uk/school-transport.