COVID-19 information for school transport

Information for parents and carers

The following advice about school transport for the autumn term is subject to change. 

School transport availability

Where possible, all children should walk or cycle to school or college. Where this is not possible, consider driving your child to school or college. This will help us to reduce the number of interactions between children.

If your child is entitled to free or subsidised transport, only use it if absolutely necessary.

If they are not using it, please let us know. We would like to record which children are travelling in a vehicle.

If your child pays a fare to use public transport, only use it if absolutely necessary. Social distancing requirements will mean reduced capacity on public transport. Access may be restricted.

If you decide to arrange your own transport, we will not reimburse you.

You can check if your child is entitled to and apply for:

For post-16 transport, you must pay the necessary contribution as soon as possible.

If you want your child to start using transport again, you must complete our online form. Please do not use this form to reapply for transport if you already have an entitlement. It should only be used where you have asked us to stop providing transport and want it to start again. 

We will make transport arrangements as soon as possible. Short notice may mean a delay to in us putting your transport back in place.

If transport becomes unavailable, we will contact you.

Paid for transport (post 16 transport and concessionary)

If your child is using their transport, then you must pay the contribution fee. There is no deduction if their timetable means they will travel to school or college less often. We are still paying for the transport even if reduced numbers of pupils use it.

If a school or college formally closes due to a local lockdown, we will refund a proportionate amount. The processing of refunds may take a few weeks.

You can enquire about the availability of any concessionary transport.

We reserve the right to withdraw a concessionary ticket if a child entitled to free transport needs the seat.

Entitled children using public transport

We are making plans to ensure all children entitled to free or subsidised transport can get to school.

We've been awarded a small grant by central government to help fund additional dedicated school transport services. This is temporary until 26 October 2020.

This will support entitled children who normally use public transport. Children who normally pay to use public transport may also be able to use these services for a fare.

However, there are not enough vehicles available to do this on every route. We are therefore focusing on the busiest routes.

Receipt of bus passes may be delayed whilst we put plans in place. They should be received before the start of term.

Please only contact us if you have not received your bus pass by 1 September 2020. Send any queries to [email protected] or call 01522 782020.

Social distancing

Please support your child to maintain social distancing while queuing at bus stops.

Schools and colleges should have queuing arrangements in place for picking up and dropping off children.

If your child needs your help to get into a vehicle, we recommend that you:

  • limit the time you spend in the vehicle
  • wear a face covering
  • wash your hands thoroughly before and after

Social distancing is not be required on dedicated school transport, however, social distancing should always be maximised within vehicles wherever possible. This is in line with Government guidance because:

  • the overall risk to children and young people from coronavirus (COVID-19) is very low
  • they do not mix with the public on these journeys
  • dedicated school transport carries the same group regularly. These children may also be together in school
  • it allows for planning to put appropriate protective measures in place

There is no requirement for children to sit in their school bubble on dedicated school transport. However, where possible, children should try to sit within their bubbles and be socially distant. When leaving a vehicle, children will be asked to leave from the front to the back, one deck at a time.

We will provide transport as close to the typical start and end of the school day as possible. Schools and colleges are aware of this. 

We have advised that they may need to provide a safe place for children to wait for their transport. If your school provides transport for pupils, contact them to find out about their arrangements. 

Some schools do not operate their own transport. We will only provide transport for children that are entitled under our education transport policy.

Preventing the risk of infection

Transport drivers must focus on driving vehicles safely. They are not responsible for overseeing whether children follow the advice and guidance.

Parents and carers must ensure that their children understand how to use transport safely.

Children must not travel to school if they: 

  • are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms 
  • are self-isolating as a result of coronavirus symptoms
  • are sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms
  • have been advised by the NHS test and trace service to self-isolate

If a child becomes unwell during a school day, parents and carers must arrange their collection from school or college. You cannot use dedicated school transport or public transport.

Children must wash their hands thoroughly before and after using transport.

We recommend that children carry tissues on transport to catch any coughs or sneezes. They must dispose of tissues safely in a covered bin after leaving the vehicle. They must wash their hands as soon as possible.

Children must not consume food or drink on dedicated school transport vehicles.

Face coverings

All travellers must wear a face covering on dedicated school transport if they can. Public Health England recommends this for all children aged 11 and over.

Children under age 11 are encouraged to wear a face-covering where they can and can do so safely.

You do not need a face covering if you have an exemption from their use on public transport.

We will not refuse pupils on dedicated school transport if they do not have a face covering.

You can check transport providers' websites for specific rules on face coverings.

Schools and colleges have a process for pupils to remove face coverings. Pupil must:

  • wash their hands immediately upon arrival
  • dispose of temporary face coverings in a covered bin
  • place reusable face coverings in a plastic bag
  • wash their hands again

Suspected cases on school transport

Children, drivers and passenger assistants who have been in contact with someone who has developed symptoms whilst at school or on home to school transport do not need to go home to self-isolate unless:

  • they develop symptoms themselves (in which case, they should arrange a test) or
  • the symptomatic person subsequently tests positive and they were in contact within 48 hours of them first displaying symptoms or
  • they have been requested to do so by NHS Test and Trace or the local Health Protection Team

If you test positive, NHS Test and Trace or the local Health Protection team will contact your family, school and transport provider. 

We will identify everyone who has been in close contact with you. We will ask them to go home and self-isolate for the advised period. Other members of their household will not need to self-isolate unless the person self-isolating develops symptoms.

Find out more about close contact and self-isolating on the NHS website.

If a driver or passenger assistant has Covid-19 symptoms or tests positive, we may not be able to provide transport. In this case, we will try to find alternative vehicles. Parents and carers may need to transport their children to school until we can resume normal arrangements.