This guidance has been informed by the scientific advice of the COVID-19 Advisory Sub Group on Education and Children’s issues, published on 30 October and by its discussions and advice during January to March 2021 and its advice published on 3 August 2021. The following forms part of the wider plan for safely reopening schools on 18 August 2021 and the main points are:
- It is recommended that immediately prior to entering the school transport, pupils wash or sanitise their hands.
- Face coverings should be worn by children aged 12 years and over on dedicated school transport unless the child has an exemption
- 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 minibuses should not be used to allow social 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 operator 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.
- Bus timetables will operate as normal.
- Face coverings should be worn by children aged 12 years and over on dedicated school transport unless the child has an exemption.
- Maintaining distancing between young people on dedicated school transport is not strictly necessary.
- The consumption and sharing of food and drink is not allowed.
- Bus drivers are required to keep windows on dedicated school transport open wherever possible.
- Bus drivers are unable to monitor and enforce school rules on buses. It is important that parents and carers encourage their children to behave responsibility when using school transport.
- Face coverings should be worn by children aged 12 years and over in school taxis unless the child has an exemption.
- Front seats of taxis should not be used.
Additional Support Needs Provision
- 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.
- It is not practical to implement strict social distancing requirements on ASN transport particularly where pupils require adult supervision on the journey. Additional measures will be introduced where possible.