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School transport for parents and carers (COVID-19)

This information and guidance was issued on 3 August 2020 and is subject to change if Scottish Government issue further guidance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 30 July, Scottish Government confirmed that schools and early learning and childcare settings will reopen across Scotland from the 11 August. North Ayrshire schools and early learning and childcare settings will reopen on the 12 August with school transport in place on this date. This document provides further information on school transport arrangements.

Active travel

Please walk, cycle or scoot to your school if it is safe to do so. Your schools can provide further information on walking routes and park & stride locations which can be provided if requested.

Hygiene

It is essential that all pupils thoroughly wash their hands or hand sanitise before and after each journey. Provision will be made in school at the start and the end of the day to ensure this is carried out. Parents & carers should ensure this is carried out at home to minimise the potential spread of COVID-19.

All advice provided by Public Health Scotland should be followed, including:

  • Catch it – Germs spread easily. Always carry tissues and use them to catch your cough or sneeze
  • Bin it – Germs can live for several hours on tissues. Dispose of your tissues as soon as possible
  • Kill it – Hands can transfer germs to every surface. Clean your hands as soon as you can

Keeping your child or young person safe

No passengers should board school transport if they have COVID-19 symptoms.

Transport contractors are required to carry out a risk assessment and take steps to minimise the spread of the virus. This provides further detail of the steps that contractors should consider to minimise the spread of the virus.

It is recommended that transport contractors ensure enhanced cleaning regimes are in place and carried out before and after each transport journey. On dedicated school transport, such as buses or taxis, this will focus on cleaning touch points such as handles, chairs and handrails before and after each journey. Public transport arrangements will be determined by the specific operator.

The transport contractors risk assessment will look to increase the ventilation and flow of fresh air, this may result in windows being kept partially open. Pupils should be dressed to accommodate cooler temperatures within the vehicle.

If the driver allocates the child or young person a seat for the journey, they should not move from the designated seat or consume food or drink during the journey.

During the journey, where possible, children and young people should refrain from touching surfaces, windows and handles.

Children and young people should respect the guidance and instruction provided by the driver or escort. This will help protect them and help ensure the safety of others.

The driver or escort may be required to assist the child or young person with fastening their seat belts, however where applicable children or young person should fasten their own.  Wheelchairs users will be secured in accordance with manufactures instructions by the driver.

Pupils accessing public transport

Pupils using public transport should wear a face covering (unless clinically advised not to) and comply with physical distancing where possible.

No passengers should board public transport if they have symptoms of COVID-19.

Journeys by public transport may take longer and timetables may change. Children and young people and staff who have no alternative but to use public transport should be advised to plan their journey in advance and leave additional time where possible.

Pupils accessing dedicated school transport (private buses or taxis)

Dedicated school transport is classed as an extension to the school estate and physical distancing measures between pupils of all ages are not necessary (subject to continued low levels of infection within Scotland).

Face coverings are not mandatory on dedicated school transport. This is something that could be considered by parents or carers in discussion with their child, to reduce the spread of the virus.

No passengers should board dedicated school transport if they have COVID-19 symptoms.

Further information on school transport arrangements for children with additional support needs can be found in the section below.

If applicable on arrival a child or young person should remain seated until the driver or escort opens the passenger door and is met by a member of school staff.

Children and young people should respect the guidance and instruction provided by the driver or escort. This will help protect them and help ensure the safety of others.

Where possible physical distancing should be maintained between adults as well as between adults and pupils from different households.

The Council has issued a revised code of conduct addendum (PDF, 101kb) in response to COVID-19 for ASN contractors.

Arran Transport

Pupils with entitlement to Public Transport on Isle of Arran to Arran High School will be allocated to Bus 1 and 2. There will be zoned areas at the rear of the bus and pupils will be required to sit in this area.

There will be no requirement for pupils to physical distance in the vehicle and while pupils have been given an exemption of transport. It is not mandatory to wear a face covering, but is highly recommended that the children do so (unless clinically advised not to). 

All entitled children will be guaranteed a seat on the specific bus they have been allocated on. For the first day pupils travel without their passes. Passes will be available from the School Office on the first day.

If you have any queries in relation to mainstream transport, including those entitled pupils utilising Public Transport, please contact SPT on 0141 333 3362 or alternatively 0141 333 3360.

Cumbrae Transport

The following arrangements have been made for all pupils travelling from the Isle of Cumbrae to Largs Academy.

The bus that picks pupils up on the Island will travel on the ferry and take pupils to Largs Academy once on the mainland, cutting down the changes pupils make to transport going to and from Largs Academy. All other pupils will travel in their specific vehicles to the other schools on the mainland.

If you have any queries in relation to mainstream transport, including those entitled pupils utilising Public Transport, please contact SPT on 0141 333 3362 or alternatively 0141 333 3360.

Children with Additional Support Needs (ASN)

No passengers should board dedicated school transport if they have COVID-19 symptoms.

Where the pupil risk assessment identifies a requirement for an escort, this will still be provided.

Face coverings will generally be worn by adults travelling with ASN pupils where physical distancing cannot be maintained. The wearing of face coverings will be considered on a pupil by pupil basis, in recognition that face coverings may limit communication and could cause distress to some children.

If any equipment is stored or the child or young person is a wheelchair user, you should ensure that any equipment that is touched is cleaned appropriately prior to handover to transport staff and at pick up location. The driver should disinfect equipment at touch area before and after touch and school staff should also wipe clean before and after touch.