Frequently asked questions: home to school transport and coronavirus

This information is relevant for pupils where both of the following points apply:

  • The pupil is already eligible to travel on education transport in line with our (Wrexham Council) transport policy
  • You have indicated to the school that the pupil requires a place on home to school transport between Monday 29th June and Friday 24th July 2020

Do I have to send my child on the school bus?

You should only send your child on the school bus if you have requested a seat on a vehicle to your school and you have received confirmation that they have a place on the vehicle.  

You do not have to send your child on the school transport. Guidance from the Welsh Government advises families to consider alternatives including, walking or cycling or the use of private car. 

If you are going to drive your child to school then please remember there may be increased traffic around schools, so allow extra time and also be very aware of children walking in the vicinity of the school.

What can I do as a parent/carer to support school transport?

School transport should only be used if no other option is available, so do consider your other options. 

School transport should not be used unless you have indicated to your school that a place is required on the transport.  

Regular handwashing is one of the main ways to prevent the spread of the virus.  Please ensure that your child washes their hands when leaving home and on arrival home.  

Will the usual home to school transport be operating?

School transport will still be operational but not in the same way as previously, there will be changes due to social distancing and school day times.  Transport will only run to the opening hours set by each individual school.
 

Will there be any changes to the school transport route?

Potentially yes. Each school is considering its own local opening arrangements on a phased basis. We are working closely with schools to provide transport that best fits with each of these arrangements. 

We will confirm the transport arrangements with you before the school return date.

Will the buses be cleaned regularly?

Vehicles used for home to school transport will be cleaned prior to picking pupils up in the morning and at the end of the school run in the afternoon.
 

How many pupils will be able to travel on a school transport?

The numbers of passengers will vary according to the size of the vehicle.  We have reviewed all transport provision to calculate how many pupils we can offer a seat to, based on vehicle size and social distancing guidelines. 

Will other children be continually passing my child when they get on and off the bus?

There will be a clear seating plan agreed with transport operators in place which ensures that the first pupil that is picked up in the morning will sit at the back of a school bus.  

Pupils will then fill the bus from the back forwards and when the bus arrives at school the pupils nearest the front will leave first.

This will ensure that pupils are not passing each other and can maintain social distancing.
 

How will children be spaced apart when they are on the bus?

To help us plan for social distancing we have ensured that pupils sit by themselves on the seat nearest to the window (this will also apply to pupils from the same household) in a zig-zag pattern.

On the return journey pupils will be lined up (2 metres apart) and will fill the bus from the back first, in the order that they will leave the vehicle.  Those leaving first will sit nearest to the front.
 

What happens about social distancing at the bus stop while waiting for the bus?

We will expect pupils from different households to observe social distancing measures in line with the latest advice from the Welsh Government. 

Will there always be the same driver and the same bus?

Where practicable the same driver and bus will be used. If for any reason the bus driver is unavailable, there will be another driver. If the bus cannot be used for any reason, then a replacement will be used

What if children do not follow the social distancing requirements?

Parents will be asked to sign a code of conduct that is expected from their child prior to using school transport.  If a child is unable to understand the expectation upon them, parents should then consider alternative means of safe travel.

 

My child is on the concessionary (charged) seat scheme, will they be able to travel?

We will not be operating the concessionary (charged) seat scheme at present as only a small number of qualifying pupils can travel on our transport due to social distancing requirements.

What does this mean for learners who do not qualify for free transport?

Students who do not qualify will not receive free school transport from the council and should be encouraged to walk or cycle to school.

What if vehicles are overcrowded?

We are working closely with our transport providers to monitor vehicle capacity levels to maximise capacity in line with social distancing requirements. Where necessary, transport providers will be asked to make changes to avoid overcrowding and we will inform schools, parents and carers.

What if my child usually has a passenger assistant?

If a passenger assistant is really needed to travel, this may continue. However, as some staff will no longer be available, staff may change.

If any transport staff are unable to work because they need to isolate themselves, staff may need to be changed at short notice. 

If there are any problems with the availability of passenger assistant’s available, parents will be contacted.

What if my child becomes unwell during the school day?

You may be expected to collect your child from school.
 

If my child has a cold will they still be transported?

No. If your child or a member of your household displays any of the following symptoms you should not leave the house. 

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste

It is essential that you ensure your child does not travel if they have any of these symptoms. This is in line with government and NHS advice.  If your transport operator is aware of a symptom prior to travel, transport will be declined.

What will happen for the new term in September?

It is expected that home to school transport in the new term from September will still be operating to Welsh Government social distancing guidelines.  We will continue to review all transport arrangements leading up to September 2020 in line with latest government advice.  If there are any ongoing changes needed from that point we will ensure you are advised as soon as possible.