This guidance has been informed by the scientific advice of the Scottish Government's COVID-19 Advisory Sub Group on Education and Children updated on 25 August 2020 and effective from 31 August 2020. This forms part of the wider plan for safely reopening schools and the main points are:
- School transport is regarded as an extension of the school estate. This means that pupils are not required to socially distance while on school transport.
- It is recommended that immediately prior to entering the school transport, pupils wash or sanitise their hands.
- Taxi and bus operators are implementing additional measures of increased hygiene within dedicated school transport. This includes regular and thorough cleaning and sanitising of surfaces, door handles and seatbelts and regular handwashing. Windows in vehicles should be open slightly to improve ventilation.
- Drivers will be required to wear face coverings except where there is a partition between the driver and any passengers.
- Front seats of taxis and buses should not be used to allow 1 metre distancing between the driver and any passengers.
- No food or drink to be consumed in the vehicle.
- Parents will be unable to use dedicated school buses until further notice.
- Should your child develop symptoms of COVID-19 during the day – you will be responsible for arranging to transport them home from school. They will be unable to use the regular school transport to return home.
- If you or anyone in your household is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (new continuous dry cough, fever or the loss of or a change in your sense of smell or taste) you should not allow your child to travel on school transport. If your child goes to school in a taxi you should contact the taxi operator on the number detailed on your letter to advise them that your child will not be travelling. You should visit the government COVID-19 website and the follow the advice regarding isolation and Test and Protect process.
- Face coverings should be worn by children aged 5 years and over on dedicated school transport unless exemptions apply, to align with the position on public transport. If you use public service buses to get to school, children will need to wear a face covering and observe 1m social distancing.
- Face coverings should be worn by children aged 5 years and over unless exemptions apply when travelling in taxis.
- It is recognised that the circumstances of many children with Additional Support Needs require adult carers to travel with the children, often in close proximity. Pupil Transport Assistants will follow general COVID-19 hygiene guidance. Pupil Transport Assistants will use hand sanitiser regularly throughout the journey.
- Pupil Transport Assistants have been advised to confirm with parents/carers that pupils and everyone in the household are free from COVID-19 symptoms each morning when accessing school transport. Any pupil displaying the recognised signs of COVID-19 such as a persistent cough or fever will not be allowed to access transport.
- Pupil Transport Assistants will be required to wear face coverings. However, this will be balanced with the wellbeing and needs of the child, recognising that face coverings may limit communication and could cause distress to some children. Drivers will also wear a face covering where physical screening is not in place.