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Isle of Anglesey County Council


School transport arrangements from September 2020


The Council is working to resume its dedicated school transport services and transport routes, although the available seating capacity may continue to be limited by the latest guidance on social distancing on some routes. Further information will provided by Welsh Government.

We are encouraging parents and carers to take children to school by walking or cycling, or alternatively by private car, rather than using dedicated school transport. However, we understand that this will not be possible for some people.

Where seating capacity is limited because of social distancing, priority will be given to those who are entitled to free school transport in accordance with the Council's policy, who won’t be able to attend without it. Further information will be provided if prioritisation is necessary.

At the moment, due to the limited capacity of public transport, we are unable to sell our usual travel ticket for pupils who live less than 3 miles from their nearest school, pupils in years 12-13 and those who attend school outside their catchment. This situation will be reviewed regularly. In the meantime, if required, pupils should purchase their ticket on a daily base from the transport operator. If there is any spare capacity on dedicated school transport, tickets can also be purchased from the Local Authority.

We are awaiting further guidance on school transport arrangements from the Welsh Government. In the meantime, we are working with schools and other educational settings to provide the same mainstream transport routes.

Your child’s transport may look different when they return to school. Some changes may include travelling with different pupils, transport staff wearing PPE including masks or visors. We understand that the changes to the school journey may be unsettling to some children and young people. Please explain these changes to your child in advance to help them prepare.

For those pupils already in receipt of free school transport or for whom new arrangements have been put in place for September, the mainstream school transport routes will hopefully continue to operate as they did before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public service buses are operating on a restricted timetable - please see the current timetables .

Note that we are unable to guarantee a seat on a public service bus.

We understand that families may be anxious about home to school transport arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will do our best to provide support and keep things as consistent as possible by trying to use the same contractor, driver and passenger supervisor but we may need to provide larger vehicles to enable social distancing.

Your child’s transport may look different when they return to school. Some changes may include travelling with other pupils, alternative routes with different journey times, transport staff wearing PPE including masks or visors. We understand that the changes to the school journey will be unsettling to some children and young people. Please explain these changes to your child in advance to help them prepare.

There is an online form on the Authority’s website for you to complete to request a bus pass.

Please note that we are unable to sell passes for service buses at this time due to limited availability but we will be reviewing the situation regularly.

 

The Welsh Government has issued guidance for the reopening of schools in September and the Council will be working to those guidelines going forward.

We are awaiting further guidance on school transport arrangements from the Welsh Government.

It is important for parents/carers and children to practice social distancing wherever possible. Children should be shown how to secure their seat belts, ensuring that personal contact is kept to an absolute minimum.

We ask that parents and carers help communicate to pupils the importance of following good hand and respiratory hygiene and social distancing, as this will play a key role in keeping everyone safe.

This means taking the following precautions:

  • do not travel if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolating as a result of COVID-19 symptoms, sharing a household with somebody with symptoms or clinically extremely vulnerable
  • consider if using school transport is absolutely necessary
  • wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands before leaving the house
  • keep a social distance from people outside of your own household throughout the journey to school, including at the bus stop and on the vehicle. If this is not possible you should avoid physical contact and face away from others
  • avoid physical contact with others
  • windows will be open for ventilation
  • face away from other people when using transport
  • minimise the number of surfaces you touch, and in particular avoid touching surfaces such as handrails and window ledges
  • do not touch your face
  • keep the time spent near others as short as possible when using school transport
  • do not eat or drink whilst using transport
  • practice good respiratory hygiene. The ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach is very important. Your children can bring tissues on home to school transport, disposing of any which are used before leaving the bus
  • wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands before leaving school and after arriving home

Please note that a refusal to comply with health and safety requirements, good hygiene and social distancing could jeopardise your child’s place on school transport. Your support in reinforcing this message with your child would be greatly appreciated.

Social distancing applies to children as well as adults in order to help minimise the risk of transmission of the virus. Pupils should maintain social distancing from others who are not in their household. If this is not possible they should avoid physical contact and face away from others.

A face covering will be required on public transport from 27 July 2020. Anglesey Council strongly recommends that all secondary school pupils who use designated home to school transport should wear a face covering. While parents / carers may feel apprehensive about the risks in using school transport during the COVID-19 pandemic, they should decide whether to do so, or, if they prefer, they should make their own arrangements to transport their child to and from school.

We are awaiting further guidance on school transport arrangements from the Welsh Government. Seating arrangements will be carefully considered in line with this guidance. All appropriate actions will be taken to reduce and mitigate risk on the basis that:

  • the overall risk to children and young people from COVID 19 is low
  • school transport carries the same group of pupils on a regular basis, and those pupils may also be together in school
  • siblings can sit together
  • where possible, face to face seating should be avoided
  • there will be no contact between pupils and other passengers i.e. members of the public
  • windows and roof vents will be kept open where possible
  • contact will be minimised with individuals who are unwell
  • all passengers, including the drivers and passenger supervisors should wash their hands or use hand sanitiser before boarding transport and when arriving at school or home
  • if there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, then it will be easy to identify who was travelling on which vehicle, helping to test, trace and protect
  • there will be a rigorous cleaning and sanitising regime between before / after each journey

To ensure that pupils are not passing each other on the bus and reduce the social distancing, the following procedure will be followed:

  • when boarding the bus on the way to school, pupils must sit, taking the rear most available seat and the child or young person nearest the entrance must disembark first. For younger children, we ask parents to be available to help with this and the social distancing requirement at the bus stop
  • when boarding the bus on the way home from school, follow instructions from driver/school staff member. Pupils must enter and sit on the bus in descending order of year group, with the eldest year group going first and taking up the rear most available seat, and the youngest year group entering last and sitting nearer the front

Only named passengers that have prior approval to travel and entitled to free school transport will be allowed to use designated home to school transport. Drivers will have lists of pupils that will be allocated to their vehicle each day.

Those not eligible to travel will be turned away from the vehicle as it is not a responsibility for the Local Authority to provide home to school transport for them.

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

We are asking transport operators to follow the Welsh Government Guidance.

This guidance includes actions such as regular sanitising, the thorough cleaning of vehicles and the use of PPE.

At the daily Welsh Government coronavirus briefing on the 13 July 2020, the First Minister announced that in order to help reduce the risk of transmission whilst using public service buses, trains and taxis, where it is not always possible to maintain a two metre physical distance while travelling, it will become mandatory for people to wear a three-layer face covering from the 27 July 2020.

However, this does not apply to children under the age of 11. Anglesey Council strongly recommends that all secondary school pupils who use designated home to school transport should wear a face covering.

Further information can be found on the Welsh Government website, including how to make a face covering and dispose of them safely.

Clear evidence remains that the most effective way to protect your child and others from infection is to follow social distancing rules, avoid touching surfaces and your face, and wash your hands regularly. The wearing of face coverings must not be used as an alternative to any of these other precautions.

Younger children and those with special needs or who rely on lip reading to communicate may not be able to safely wear a face covering. Secondary age children should use a face covering on Local Authority arranged transport (and must wear them on public transport), but they are not a substitute for good hygiene and social distancing.

New guidance in relation to public service transport is being issued shortly and this is likely to have an impact on home to school transport.

More information about School Transport can be found on the Transport for Wales website.