COVID-19: Pupils travelling on dedicated mainstream school transport

We have put in place new procedures and arrangements for education transport and travel, for children and young people travelling to school, in response to COVID-19.

These new procedures and arrangements follow the current government guidance. We will continue to assess government guidance as it is issued and update our own guidance and procedures as needed.

Over summer 2020, we assessed all transport operating from September onwards, working with the operator and schools, colleges, and other education establishments, to ensure that we are taking appropriate precautions to minimise the risk to both young people travelling and the transport staff.

Dedicated school transport: new measures

There is no requirement for social distancing on dedicated school transport. This is because students will not be sharing with members of the general public and will generally, or mostly, be with the same group of students each day.

  • Transport that serves more than one school or college will be split where possible.
  • We are strongly advising all transport staff to wear a face covering
  • We are advising all transport staff to minimise contact with young people on the vehicle
  • We are providing services at times to meet the revised school day
  • We are providing extra services to cover commercial services, where capacity may not be available.

Please check your school website and the school timetables before the start of school: School bus timetables

Advice to parents and students

  • Parents/carers should establish a routine of hand washing and hand sanitising in the morning, before boarding a vehicle, and again when they return home in the afternoon. Where possible carry a small hand sanitiser with you so you can clean your hands before and after your journey.
  • Children should be encouraged to carry tissues on home to school transport. These will need to be disposed of in a covered bin. Where it is not possible to have a bin on board, schools should have a suitable disposal process on arrival, in line with their process for disposing of face coverings.
  • If you touch door handles, seatbelts, railings or any other part of the vehicle, do not touch your face until you have washed your hands or used hand sanitiser.
  • Where possible young people travelling should wear a face covering. As of 2 December 2020, government guidance states that face covers MUST be worn on dedicated transport to secondary school or college, except for those who are exempt. This reduces the risk for everyone.
  • Students should sit with others from their year group or bubble if possible.
  • Children or young people must not board home to school transport or public transport if they or a member of their household has symptoms of coronavirus.
  • If the driver believes the young person to be ill, they will not be permitted to use the transport.
  • If a child or young person develops symptoms while at school or their educational institution, they will be sent home. They must not travel on home to school transport or public transport. The school or educational institution should contact the parent who should make arrangements for the child or young person’s journey home.

Pupils travelling on a public bus service

  • There is a requirement for social distancing on a public bus service, but pupils can sit next to family members.
  • Its mandatory to wear a face covering unless you are exempt from doing so. For more details on exemptions go to Face coverings guidance.
  • As with travelling on dedicated transport, a strict hand washing routine should be followed, and where possible hand sanitiser should be carried.
  • Pupils should not travel if they or a member of their household have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Face coverings: For those who are exempt from the use of face coverings we would encourage you to download an exemption card.

On the vehicle

  • Make sure you follow all instructions from the driver, and passenger assistant if you have one.
  • You should sit with other students from your year group if you can. Also try to sit in the same seat each day.
  • Sit side-by-side where possible and avoid face to face contact such as close talking.
  • Get off the vehicle at school from the front, row by row, lower deck first, then upper deck.
  • Do not interfere with any tape, signs or barriers that have been put there to help passengers socially-distance, if on a local bus.
  • Do not close any open windows - they help to increase the airflow through the vehicle.
  • If you are using a disposable face covering/mask, please do not throw it away on the vehicle. Please dispose of it in a public bin, at school or at home.

Please ensure that you review the government guidance in association with this information as guidance can change quickly.

Engage with the test and trace process

Drivers, passenger assistants and families, on behalf of children, understand that they will need to be ready and willing:

  • to provide details of anyone they have been in close contact with if they test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or if asked by NHS Test and Trace
  • to self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), or if anyone in their household develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).