COVID-19 information for school transport

Information for parents and carers

The following advice about school transport is subject to change. 

Important School Transport Information from 19 July 2021

The Government has set out step 4 of the roadmap for lifting lockdown from Monday 19 July 2021. 

For the remainder of the summer term the following infection prevention control measures will apply on Council funded dedicated school transport:

  • The additional transport that has been running this year in many areas will still operate.
  • Transport will still continue to be cleaned regularly on key touch points and also deep cleaned each night.
  • Pupils should continue to socially distance and sit in 'bubbles' on transport wherever possible.
  • Although face coverings are no longer a legal requirement on public transport, we strongly recommend their continued use on school transport for pupils of all ages, where they are able to wear them.
  • Each transport operator is able to decide if passengers MUST wear a face covering on their services. It is recommended that parents/carers check directly with transport operators for any further rules.

It is expected and strongly recommended that any pupil travelling to school or college on public transport continues to wear a face covering.

Further local guidance on school transport will be provided in advance of the new academic year.

School transport availability

Where possible, all children should walk or cycle to school or college.

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

If your child pays a fare to use public transport, only use it if necessary.

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

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

If you already have an entitlement to school transport, it is running as normal.

Paid for transport (post 16 transport and concessionary)

Post-16 transport is running as normal. Eligible pupils need to pay the relevant contribution.

You can also 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 continue to seek 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 supports 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.

This is temporary until 21 July 2021. Any extension is subject to government funding.

Please note additional services may be withdrawn at short notice when funding ends. Normal service will then resume.

Social distancing

Please continue to 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 required on dedicated school transport, however, social distancing should always be maximised within vehicles wherever possible. This will help to minimise the number, proximity and duration of social contacts.

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 for the remainder of the term. When leaving a vehicle, children may be asked to leave from the front to the back, one deck at a time.

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

Preventing the risk of infection

Transport drivers must focus on driving vehicles safely. They are not responsible for overseeing whether children follow 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 or a positive PCR or lateral flow test
  • have been advised by the NHS test and trace service to self-isolate

If a child becomes unwell during a school day (including testing positive for COVID-19 in any test, such as a lateral flow test, conducted at school or college), 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

We strongly recommend that all travellers wear a face covering on dedicated school transport if they can.

Government guidance is clear that it is expected and recommended that passengers wear face coverings in crowded areas such as transport.

This does not apply to children and young people who are exempt from wearing a face covering on public transport.

Transport operators have the authority to decide if passengers must wear a face covering on their services. You should check transport providers' websites for specific rules on face coverings.

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
  • they test positive following a lateral flow test or
  • they have been requested to do so by NHS Test and Trace ahead of taking a PCR test or
  • test positive following a PCR test

If you test positive or are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, NHS Test and Trace or the local Health Protection team will contact you. 

They will identify everyone who has been in close contact with you. They may ask close contacts to go home where applicable and undertake a PCR test. Where people test positive, they should self-isolate for the advised period.

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.