Parents asked to follow new school transport guidelines during coronavirus
As schools get ready to welcome back more pupils from 1 June, Buckinghamshire Council is asking parents to help reduce the numbers of passengers using school transport services by following government guidance and taking their children to school if they are able to do so.
The Council is working with transport providers to make sure that the government's guidance is followed on their services to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus. However, maintaining social distancing during journeys is likely to be a challenge, which is why parents are being asked to assist where they can by following the government’s guidance to take their children to school by other means, whether by walking, cycling or using the car. The fewer children that travel on school buses, the better the social distancing will be for those who have no alternative.
For those parents whose children are entitled to free transport because they have special educational needs (SEN), the Council is running a mileage payment scheme for parents if they are able to take their children to school themselves. The scheme pays the normal mileage rate of 45p per mile for a four way journey each day, covering a round trip twice a day, during this period of disruption. Find out more about the SEN mileage payment scheme here.
David Martin, Buckinghamshire Council Cabinet Member for Logistics, said: "Coronavirus means that many of our routine daily activities cannot continue as before, and school buses are a case in point. Usually they are full which means students are in close contact with each other throughout their journeys. When school buses resume taking some of our children to school next week, we will try to ensure appropriate social distancing on them wherever possible; but all parents and carers will of course understand there is no way to ensure with certainty that there will be no contact at some time during their children’s journeys. I therefore ask the parents and carers of children returning to school next week to, if at all possible, find alternative ways of getting your children to school during this difficult time. Making your own arrangements will not only reduce any risk of infection to your children; but make social distancing easier for others who have no option but to use the bus.”
Cabinet Member for Education and Skills Anita Cranmer said: "As schools make their preparations on the many aspects of keeping everyone safe as children start to return after the lockdown, school transport poses a particular challenge. We're working closely with both schools and transport operators to ensure that the risk of spreading the virus is as low as possible. Parents also have a part they can play by finding other ways to get to school where this is possible."