This page is designed to answer frequently asked coronavirus questions relating to school travel

FAQs

The government has asked transport operators in England to make wearing face coverings a requirement of using public transport from 15 June to coincide with the next stage of carefully easing COV-19 restrictions. The requirement to wear a face covering does not apply to a child who is aged 10 or under. The requirement to wear a face covering also does not apply to some people for health, age or equality reasons https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers#exemptions-face-coverings.

Wearing a face covering does not apply to children who are travelling on a Suffolk County Council closed contract vehicle that is only carrying school children. It is up to you and your child to decide if they will wear a face covering.

If your child is travelling to school on a public service bus they must wear a face covering from 15 June. This can be a cloth covering such as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head. Advice is available on how to make a face covering and use it properly. Always wash hands before putting on a face covering and after taking it off. A face covering is not the same as a surgical mask or respirator used by healthcare and other workers as part of personal protective equipment. These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace.

With the implementation of mandatory face coverings to be worn on public transport we understand that some customers have reasons as to why they can't wear a face covering. We have created some printer friendly cards that include other prompts which can be shown to drivers upon boarding a bus if you need a bit more time to pay, find a seat or maybe are exempt from wearing a face covering www.suffolkonboard.com/assistancecards.

Children, young people and parents are encouraged to walk or cycle where possible, accompanied by a responsible adult or carer, where appropriate.

You should consider all other forms of transport before using public transport.

If your child usually shares transport with another family try and find a different way to travel to school. If this is not possible and you are the responsible adult or carer travelling with children please help them follow this guidance:

  • Consider wearing a face covering
  • Minimise the surfaces they touch
  • Maintain their distance from others as far as possible
  • Avoid physical contact
  • Face away from others
  • Open the windows
  • Keep the time spent near others as short as possible
  • Wash their hands after the journey.

If your child is unwell they must not go to school in any circumstances.

We have taken steps to make it as safe as we can for children to travel on Suffolk County Council closed contracts routes. School travel operators will continue to follow and carry out the health and hygiene checks, based upon Public Health England guidance.

The bus route will operate based on the information received from the schools on those pupils they are expecting to return. This may mean changes to timings and routes based on this information. There may be some changes to timings to fit around school opening times, where possible. We advise you to wait with your child until their school transport arrives. If you haven’t told the school your child is returning, you must ensure that you do this.

It is possible that the vehicle will not be driven by the usual driver.

We have planned vehicle capacity in the short term to meet the two-metre social distancing guidance.

It will not be possible to maintain this as more children and young people return to school over the coming months. This is because to maintain two-metre distancing, only 15-18 seats would be available for use on a 70-seater bus and 10-13 seats on a 53-seater bus. There will not be enough vehicles available to manage this.

Where it isn’t possible to maintain a two-metre distance, children and young people should avoid physical contact, face away from others, and keep the time spent near others as short as possible.

Some seats may be cordoned off and face-to-face seating should not be used.  Passengers should spread out where possible.

Children and young people must follow any guidance given by the driver, such as where to sit on the vehicle.

It is important that all children behave on the vehicle. Should a child put the safety of others at risk parents may need to make alternative travel arrangements for them.

The government has asked transport operators in England to make wearing face coverings a requirement of using public transport from 15 June to coincide with the next stage of carefully easing COV-19 restrictions.

This does not apply to children who are travelling on a Suffolk County Council closed contract vehicle that is only carrying school children. It is up to you and your child to decide if they will wear a face covering.

If your child is travelling to school on a public service bus they must wear a face covering from 15 June. This can be a cloth covering such as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head. Advice is available on  how to make a face covering and use it properly. Always wash hands before putting on a face covering and after taking it off. A face covering is not the same as a surgical mask or respirator used by healthcare and other workers as part of personal protective equipment. These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace.

Last updated - 12 June 2020

Children and young people (0 to 18 years of age) who have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable due to pre-existing medical conditions have been advised to shield and should not be attending school.

The government advises against travel on public transport if a person is clinically extremely vulnerable. This is usually when the person has a health issue or treatment which puts them at a higher level of risk of infection.

Clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) people are those considered to be at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. This applies to a small minority of children. You should follow medical advice if your child is in this category. If they usually travel on the school bus and are returning to school, you should make the medical advice known to the school. In these circumstances a Personal Allowance may be available to help you cover the cost of driving your child to school in the family vehicle. For more information contact us at 0345 606 6173.

The Passenger Transport team do not necessarily know which children are returning to school or if you wish your child to continue using the school taxi unless this has been arranged with the school.

If there are any changes to your normal service due to the need to socially distance, we will tell the school.

If your child usually travels alone in the taxi, they may be asked to sit in the back left hand seat. The taxi operator may put in place additional measures and you may want to check with your operator before travelling. Vehicles will be cleaned but it is advised to continue to wash hands after the journey.

It is possible that the taxi will not be driven by the usual driver.

If your child’s school taxi does not arrive and you would like them to travel this way, please speak to your child’s school.

Consider alternatives such as walking or cycling with your child.

If this is not possible and you are the responsible adult or carer travelling with children please help them follow this guidance:

  • Consider wearing a face covering
  • Minimise the surfaces they touch
  • Maintain their distance from others as far as possible
  • Avoid physical contact
  • Face away from others
  • Open the windows
  • Keep the time spent near others as short as possible
  • Wash their hands after the journey

If you have to travel with people outside your household, try to share with the same people each time.

Transport will be provided to those who are continuing to attend their usual educational setting. SCCCloseSuffolk County Council will review transport arrangements and make appropriate provision to reach their education setting safely.

The bus driver will advise children where to sit for their own safety and what behaviour is expected. Parents can help by ensuring their child is aware that they need to:

  • Consider wearing a face covering
  • Avoid physical contact boarding and alighting
  • Minimise the surfaces they touch
  • Maintain their distance from others, where possible
  • Sit where advised by the driver who will be seeking to ensure social distancing
  • Do not eat food or drink whilst travelling
  • Wash their hands after the journey

It is important that all children behave on the vehicle.  Should a child put the safety of others at risk parents may need to make alternative travel arrangements for them.

Poster

Download school travel guidance: coronavirus poster (PDF, 769KB)