Suffolk County Council are working closely with operators to ensure safe journeys for pupils eligible for school travel. There has been updated government guidance and some changes to school travel have been necessary.
updated September 2021
Coronavirus and school transport
The Department for Education (CloseDepartment for Education) has issued updated guidance on Dedicated transport to schools and colleges COVID-19 and the Department for Transport (DfT) has issued updated guidance on safer travel guidance for passengers
There are still measures in place to help keep everybody safe. We ask that your child follows these whilst travelling to and from school.
When should my child not travel?
Your child must not travel if they, or a member of your family, have any symptoms of COVID-19.
If you or anyone does have these symptoms, then public health advice should be followed as usual.
You must stay at home and isolate until the result of the test is known.
If your child tests positive from a PCR test or a home test, they must not travel. They must self-isolate, regardless of their age or vaccination status.
The NHS explains what to do if you test positive for coronavirus.
Does my child have to wear a face covering on the school bus?
We will continue to follow government guidance which includes the recommendation that it is highly recommended and expected that face coverings continue to be worn in enclosed spaces – this includes on transport. Therefore, we expect all students aged 11 or over to wear face coverings when travelling on any of our home to school transport routes (unless exempt) and for younger children if they are able to do so safely.
On public transport services, the operator has the right to refuse travel if face coverings are not worn, depending on their own policy
Who is exempt from having to wear a face covering?
The wearing of a face covering does not apply if:
- a pupil is unable to wear a face covering for health, age, equality or other reasons
- a pupil has Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (CloseSpecial Educational Needs and Disabilities) and is unable to wear a face covering safely due to their special need.
Does my child have to sit in a bubble on school travel?
There is no longer any need to sit in year group or class bubbles on transport, but unnecessary risks such as overcrowding should be minimised and we do recommend sitting in a consistent seat with the same group of people where possible, particularly if transport is shared with students from other schools.
When travelling on public transport services, please also avoid overcrowding, respecting other passengers on board.
Will there be social distancing on the school bus?
Social distancing does not apply but it is recommended that your child maximise distancing and minimise mixing with other pupils and passengers onboard a vehicle.
Is it safe for my child to travel to school on school transport?
We have taken steps to make it as safe as we can for children to travel on Suffolk County Council transport routes. School travel operators will continue to follow and carry out the health and hygiene checks, based upon Public Health England guidance.
Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned after each journey wherever possible, and enhanced cleaning should take place at the end of each day.
The ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach is very important, please ensure your child carries tissues with them on home to school transport. Any used tissues will need to be disposed of in a covered bin. If there isn’t a bin on board the bus, pupils should dispose of their tissues safely when they get to school.
Everyone must clean their hands before getting on school transport and again when they get off. Please ensure your child carries a hand sanitiser so they can clean their hands before and after each journey.
If pupils touch door handles, seatbelts, railings or any other part of the vehicle they should avoid touching their face until they have washed their hands or used hand sanitiser.
When pupils arrive at school and at home, they should wash their hands with soap and water. This is because COVID-19 is an easy virus to kill when it is on skin with soap and running water or hand sanitiser.
Are there any rules my child needs to follow when travelling?
- When pupils are waiting at the bus stop, they should be mindful of other pupils and members of the public at the bus stop and be considerate in allowing space where possible for anyone who may be passing
- They should let other passengers get off the vehicle first before they try to board
- Pupils must carry and show their bus pass to the driver but should not hand it to them. If they forget their pass, they may be asked by the bus driver to give their name for test and trace purposes
- When getting on board, pupils must follow all instructions from the driver, and passenger assistant if there is one
- Pupils should try and sit in the same seat each day where possible
- Sit side-by-side where possible
- Avoid face to face contact such as talking closely
- Pupils should not eat or drink on the vehicle
- Where windows are open pupils should not close them as they will help increase the airflow through the vehicle
- When arriving at school, pupils should get off starting from the front, going row by row; also, pupils on the lower deck should get off first then those on the upper deck
- For pupils travelling on a route who have Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (CloseSpecial Educational Needs and Disabilities), we ask that they fill the rear seats of the vehicle first, if possible. Those at the front of the vehicle should get off first
- Pupils must remember to wash their hands or use hand sanitiser as soon as they get off the vehicle