Parents and carers relying on school transport to get their children to schools and colleges and back are being reassured that Northumberland County Council is working with transport providers to reduce risks of spreading the virus while providing the transport needed.
For this to work there are additional requirements that the council is asking parents and carers to support to reduce the risk of transmission of infection among children and young people, the transport operators and school staff while on the journey to and from school.
Letters are being sent out to schools, parents and carers outlining how the system will work, the safety measures the council has introduced and the precautions students need to take.
Government guidance has now stated that social distancing is not mandatory on home to school transport, but every reasonable effort is being made to keep children sat apart in their year group bubbles where this is physically possible.
Every effort is being made to make separate travel arrangements for children attending different schools by using additional transport, but where this isn’t possible children from the same school will be asked to sit together.
At this stage face coverings are only being recommended for children aged 11 or over - especially where social distancing is not possible. In line with government guidelines it is recognised that dispensation is required for some children with medical needs and SEN children.
Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson, cabinet member with responsibility for children’s services, said: “It is important that we support children in getting back to school, and by taking these extra measures, and by working together with schools and transport providers, we will be successful in doing this.
“Together we can support getting Northumberland’s children back to learning and back to their friends.”
Cath McEvoy-Carr, executive director for adult and children’s services added: “The safety of our children takes priority and we will continue to follow government guidance in relation to schools, and home to school transport to ensure this.”