All coronavirus guidance for educational settings can now be found in one place on GOV.UK: Guidance for educational settings
Actions for educational and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening from 1 June 2020 published on 11th May states:
Parents and children and young people should be encouraged to walk or cycle where possible, and avoid public transport at peak times.
Please also see Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers which covers walking, cycling, and travelling in vehicles or on public transport during the coronavirus outbreak.
The Government has announced (23 May) new measures to “keep passengers safe now and level up for the future”
Home to school transport provided or organised by schools, trusts or local authorities varies widely. Schools, trusts and local authorities should work together and with relevant transport providers to put in place arrangements which fit the local circumstances, including the measures being put in place to reduce contact. Further guidance is available in Guidance on implementing protective measures.
This includes a new section on transport FAQ re: wider opening of schools Transport FAQs – Wider opening schools 1 June 2020
Normal application process for free school transport to resume
From 22 June 2020, the council will be resuming the normal process for free school transport.
This means that the extended temporary offer of free transport for the children of key workers during the current school closure period will close. This is because of the general easing of lockdown restrictions combined with public transport becoming more widely available.
Existing transport in place under this free offer will be maintained until the end of the current academic year in July; we will shortly be writing to all families in receipt of this offer to confirm this to them. We will honour any pending applications for the free offer received up to and including Friday 19 June and will provide free transport until the end of the current academic year in July.
Normal application process for free school transport to resume
From 22 June 2020 the Council will be resuming the normal process for free school transport. This means that the extended temporary offer of free transport for the children of key workers during the current school closure period will close. This is because of the general easing of lockdown restrictions combined with public transport becoming more widely available. Existing transport in place under this free offer will be maintained until the end of the current academic year in July; we will shortly be writing to all families in receipt of this offer to confirm this to them. We will honour any pending applications for the free offer received up to and including Friday 19 June and will provide free transport until the end of the current academic year in July.
For all those Schools and or Academies who have vehicles which during these unpresented times will remain unused for the foreseeable future. The expectation is, when the present period ends, is a massive spike in call outs for flat batteries on vehicles, due entirely to lack of use during the COVID19 pandemic.
There a couple of things that you could do to keep the vehicle available and ready for use when it is required.
- The advice is to start and run the vehicle for 15 to 20 minutes per week to keep the battery fully charged. This period is a minimum as it will allow the battery to recoup the charge used to start it and the power lost due to power drawn to keep any items running in the background, clocks, alarms and infotainment systems.
- It is also advisable to drive the vehicle a few feet back and forth as this will prevent the handbrake or parking brake to remain free as vehicles left for long periods can suffer with “brake lock on” whereby the handbrake has stuck on.
Just these two actions could and should prevent unnecessary call outs to breakdown providers, thus saving time and money
Health and safety for transport suppliers
The Council is working closely with our transport suppliers to ensure that they understand and adhere to the specific guidance for transport operators issued by the Department for Transport and Public Health England. We are expecting that all our transport suppliers will take the preventative measures highlighted in the guidance.
All transport suppliers are asked to complete a Covid-19 Risk Assessment. The purpose of this risk assessment is to enable transport suppliers to provide us with details on the measures they are taking to mitigate the transmission of the virus, with points included on the template to act as a guide for considering how best staff and passengers can be protected.
Please see more detailed information on school transport health and safety during Coronavirus at Buckinghamshire Council’s website https://www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/service-changes/school-transport-faqs-parents/faqs-health-and-safety-cleaning/
Wearing face coverings on school transport from 15 June 2020
The guidance on wearing face coverings on school transport has been updated (11th July)
When deciding whether children wear a face covering on school transport, it is also important to remember:
- school transport is unlike public transport, in that it generally carries the same group of children to and from the same destination each day – this may help reduce the risk of cross infection
- children and staff won’t be expected to wear face coverings in school
- it is important that those using face coverings are able to do so properly – guidance on how to wear and make a cloth face covering is available
- face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 3 or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly
In line with government guidance to help protect people in public situations where social distancing is difficult, the Council is requesting all drivers, passenger assistants and passengers wear face coverings when using school transport
We ask that schools promote this request with parents and carers and ask them to obtain or make a suitable face covering for their child when using school transport from Monday 15 June 2020, or before if they wish.
What type of face covering is suitable?
A face covering is not the same as a mask used in a medical or care environment. It is simply a layer of fabric that can be worn to cover the nose and mouth while using transport services. Suitable face coverings can be purchased online, and the government has published advice on making your own face coverings.
Will a child be refused travel if they are not wearing a face covering?
A child will not be prevented from travelling on a school transport service if they do not have a face covering. However, so that everyone travelling on school transport can be kept as safe as possible, we ask parents and carers to ensure that their child has a face covering at all times when using the service. Anyone using public transport services could be refused travel if they are not wearing a face covering.
Drivers and passenger assistants wearing face coverings
We have asked our school transport suppliers to instruct their drivers and passenger assistants to wear face coverings on all of our school transport services. The government has directed that face coverings will have to be worn by all drivers of public transport vehicles.
Should children with SEND also wear face coverings?
We are encouraging special educational needs (SEN) passengers to wear face coverings where appropriate.
We do accept that this may not be possible for some SEN passengers, and also appreciate that some SEN children may be distressed by drivers and support staff wearing face coverings. In these cases we will ask operators to ensure that staff take precautions to keep the risk to both themselves and their passengers as low as possible.