School transport during coronavirus
February 2021 – roadmap out of lockdown
On 22 February 2021, the Prime Minister confirmed that schools in England would fully reopen on Monday 8 March as part of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown. The council’s home to school transport services also returned to full operation on that date.
Government guidance for parents on education during coronavirus is available here.
Government guidance on home to school transport can be found here.
Council-run school bus services resumed on 8 March under the same arrangements that were in place in the autumn term 2020.
We work closely with our transport suppliers to ensure that they understand and follow the specific guidance for transport operators concerning coronavirus issued by the Department for Transport and Public Health England.
The Government’s guidance specifies that social distancing is not required on dedicated school transport as children are travelling by school, with seating by school, and lower risk of transmission than on public transport. On some busier routes that take pupils to more than one school we are continuing to run additional buses to reduce mixing between pupils of different schools.
All our transport suppliers must carry out a risk assessment and ensure that they have arrangements in place for regular and thorough clearing of vehicles after each school run, ventilation is in place, and that suitable measures such as face coverings and/or screens are considered.
Most children and young people aged 11 and over are required to wear a face covering on public transport. This does not apply to children and young people who are exempt from wearing face coverings.
As advised by Public Health England, if your child is aged 11 or over, they must wear a face covering when travelling on dedicated transport to secondary school or college, unless they are exempt. It is important that they comply with any rules about face coverings on their transport. You will need to ensure that they have a suitable face covering.
We are also asking parents to support safety measures by ensuring that their child:
- washes or sanitises their hands before and after their journey.
- where students are travelling on a Council-provided school bus with students from more than one school, students are requested to sit with their school and follow any additional instructions provided by the school on seating to support school bubbles.
- does not leave rubbish on school transport.
Spare seat scheme
(updated 24 February)
Those parents who pay for their child's travel to school through the Spare Seat Scheme will be entitled to a reduction in charges equivalent to the length of time of the lockdown. Now that schools are fully open again from 8 March we will calculate payment schedules and confirm the dates that the credit will apply, and will update all parents who have purchased tickets directly to confirm payment arrangements.
All parents will automatically receive a credit to their account and no action is needed.
We are very sorry, but we are unable to provide refunds in any circumstances, including where pupils are finishing school or no longer require transport. School transport is costly to run and administer and our contractual costs must still be covered.
If you have a child who usually receives taxi transport who has not been attending school during lockdown, the service for your child will have resumed from 8 March.
For those children who had continued to attend during lockdown, their taxi service continued as normal.
Some parents currently receive a per-mile travel allowance from us in lieu of school transport. Any parent who previously received this allowance but whose child did not attend school during lockdown may apply to receive these payments again if they have not already done so. If you require further advice on this, please contact us using our contact us form.
Personal Transport Budgets will replace mileage allowances, as detailed in our Home to School transport policy. However, there may be exceptional circumstances where a mileage allowance could be offered on a temporary basis e.g. parent/carer takes the child to school/college while waiting for Council arranged transport to be put in place.
If you suspect coronavirus
Do not send your child to their nursery, childminder, school or college if:
- they are showing one or more coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms
- someone in their household is showing symptoms
- someone in their support bubble has symptoms and they have been in close contact with them since the symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started
- they or someone in their household has tested positive for coronavirus (Covid19)
- they are required to quarantine having recently visited countries outside the Common Travel Area.
Arrange a test if you or your child develop symptoms. Inform your nursery, childminder, school or college of the results.
If the test is positive, follow guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, and engage with the NHS Test and Trace process.
Other household members (including any siblings) should self-isolate from the day your child’s symptoms started (or the day they took a test if they did not have symptoms), and the next 10 full days.
If your child or someone in your household has tested positive whilst not experiencing symptoms but develops symptoms during the isolation period, they should restart the 10 day isolation period from the day they developed symptoms.
If your child displays symptoms, or has a positive test, while at school or college, they should not use public transport and, wherever possible, be collected by a member of their family or household. In exceptional circumstances, if you cannot arrange to have your child collected and they cannot walk, cycle or scoot home, alternative arrangements may need to be organised by the nursery, childminder, school or college.