Coronavirus: Guidance for pupils using Cambridgeshire school buses
School buses are a place where it will be difficult to maintain bubble as pupils return to school, but there are plans in place to reduce the risks of transmitting the coronavirus .
Cambridgehire County Council suggests students getting on the school bus sit in their year groups, with a one metre distance between groups.
All pupils in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough aged 11 and older will be required to wear a face covering provided by their parent or carer on a school bus – unless they have a medical reason not to wear one.
Face coverings should be in place – covering the nose and mouth – as the pupil boards the vehicle. If a pupil does not have a face covering – and does not have a medical reason not to wear one – the bus driver may refuse them permission to travel.
If a child has a medical reason which means they are unable to wear a face covering, they are encouraged to wear a badge which shows they are exempt. Templates for making an exemption badge are available on the government’s face coverings webpages.
On arriving at the school, the face covering should be carefully removed and stored safely, after which children should wash their hands. Pupils are encouraged to carry their own hand sanitiser with them on school transport, and to wash their hands before and after using the vehicle.
Vehicles will be cleaned daily, with common touch points such as rails, handles and the backs of seats being cleaned after every journey.
To start with, no school transport vehicle will serve more than one school at any one time. This arrangement will be reviewed at Christmas.
Pupils should also be encouraged to stay at least a metre apart if possible when waiting at the bus stop.
Guidance for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) states that where possible children should either sit with their ‘bubble’ on school transport, or with the same group of children each day.
However, due to pressures on capacity and resources, together with the high costs involved in transporting students, bubble arrangements may not be possible in all cases. The transport teams in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are working hard to meet requests in discussion with schools on an individual basis, and in some cases suggesting alternative options. Further information will be sent out shortly.
This guidance applies only to those pupils and students for whom the council has a statutory duty to provide home to school transport because they meet specific eligibility criteria.
Parents whose children are not eligible for help are still required to make their own transport arrangements when term starts.
The website Traveline is a good source of information about making journeys on the public transport network.
Sue Eagle, social and education transport manager for the county council, said: “We are keen to get children back into the classroom as soon as possible. But this must be done safely – for the children, their teachers and the school bus drivers. We have therefore produced an updated leaflet which takes into account the latest guidance about wearing face coverings, which will be distributed with bus passes before the start of the new term.
“We would urge all families to read this carefully and to ensure their child observes the advice and regulations that it contains.”