The purpose of contact tracing is to protect the health of the Welsh public and control the spread of the virus. Contact tracing is now an essential part of the government’s Test, Trace, Protect strategy.
Since the beginning of June, contact tracing has been operating across Wales, and will need to be maintained at a significant level, potentially for the next year or until a vaccine is found.
Information about where those who have tested positive may have been in contact with others is essential. The Test, Trace, Protect service needs information about where that person has been, and who that person has been in contact with. For that reason, certain businesses are expected to collect and retain information about who has been on the premises, and when, for 21 days. This means that transport operators for school transport need to handle personal details of pupils travelling on their journeys on behalf of the Council and the schools for contact tracing.
Each time pupils board school transport, the driver will tick off a pre-prepared list of pupils who are on that particular bus, mini-bus or taxi, to confirm who is on each journey. The list will contain full names of pupils and which school year they are in for each separate journey (the list will also have the date and time of the journey) so that they can be identified if there is a need to undertake contact tracing.
The transport operator will then safely share completed lists with the Council. The Council and schools will be able to share contact details for pupils (such as telephone numbers of pupils/parents/carers) with the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service if the need arises.
Pupil details will only be used in the event of an outbreak of coronavirus (i.e. more than one new case of coronavirus) that is tracked back to a particular premises. The NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service will use this information to check if pupils may have been exposed on school transport.
Personal information collected whilst travelling on school transport will be processed in line with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and will be collected for contact tracing purposes only.
The information will be kept for 21 days from the date of each separate journey. After 21 days, this information will be disposed of securely or deleted from any systems used by the transport operator and the Council.
We ask that parents and carers help communicate to pupils the importance of supporting the driver to confirm that they are on a particular journey and ask that they do not move towards their seat until they have confirmed with the driver that they are present.
More information regarding contact tracing can be found on the Welsh Government website