School transport and COVID-19

How we are adapting school transport to the current COVID-19 situation.

Government guidance has changed but the council is continuing to follow the advice and take precautions against COVID-19.

Children travelling to school by public bus (either buying their own ticket or given a pass by the County Council)

Parents should visit the bus operators’ websites to check the times and routes that will be available. In particular parents should note that:

  • journeys at school times may have changed to run slightly earlier or later
  • buses that usually divert to a school gate may no longer do so and children may need to walk from the nearest stop on the ‘standard’ route
  • a change of bus may now be necessary rather than there being a ‘through journey’.

Children who travel on County Council-provided transport (coach, minibus or taxi)

Our suppliers have been asked to operate a full service until further notice. Due to possible staff shortages, some flexibility will no doubt be needed and appreciated. While we will do everything possible to avoid cancelling transport, this may be unavoidable in some circumstances.

All parents who do not accompany their children to school are advised to have a contingency plan agreed with their child in case transport is late or does not arrive. 

If transport is cancelled, the operator will endeavour to inform parents as early as possible. It will then be up to parents to make their own arrangements.

We have asked our transport operators to:

  • ask drivers and escorts to wear the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) appropriate to their role and we have outlined expectations and a guide to donning and doffing PPE safely
  • remind staff that the wearing of PPE is not just for their own safety but also for the safety of their vulnerable passengers
  • minimise changes in driver and escort teams to reduce risk of transmission
  • ask staff to keep vehicles well ventilated and do not use re-circulation air conditioning
  • ask staff to wash their hands before and after every shift
  • plan passenger collections to maximise social distancing
  • report any concerns to the council about social distancing at bus stops or collection points
  • think about how passengers are seated within vehicles to maximise social distancing
  • think about the order passengers board and alight vehicles to maximise social distancing
  • display Public Health posters in vehicles that emphasise the importance of washing hands and the ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ message
  • communicate consistent procedures to staff for standard and deep cleaning
  • identify higher risk areas, such as areas that are touched more regularly
  • supply standard cleaning products for regular cleaning and make sure there are adequate disposal arrangements for used cleaning products
  • clean regularly touched objects and surfaces (like door handles and handrails) more often than usual using standard cleaning products
  • encourage workers to wash hands before boarding vehicles
  • use wipes to clean fuel pumps before and after use
  • use signs and messages to build awareness of the good hand washing technique and other hygiene behaviours, for example, around coughing and sneezing.

Do children need to wear face coverings on transport?

Nothing should change for pupils regarding wearing face coverings on school transport following recent Government announcements.

Secondary school age pupils will still be expected to wear face coverings on school buses and minibuses, unless exempt. Where pupils are getting on open public transport services, they should also still wear a face covering to help reduce COVID-19 risks.

Important: drivers won’t refuse any child without a mask, but will be reporting each incident.

The School Transport Team are supporting schools in enforcing these rules where required and, where possible, dedicated school buses will hold a limited supply of spare masks.

Further information

See our Schools and education page for the latest information around the measures in place since schools have been fully reopened.

For information about eligibility for transport to school, see our free school transport pages.

Last updated:
26 July 2022
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