Schools Reopening – 3rd Sept 2020
The big news this week is obviously the reopening of our schools in Bucks. It’s fantastic to see them welcoming back all students into the classroom this week for the first time since March. There’s been a huge amount of work to make this happen and parents, carers and students will see many changes to how things are done so our schools can reopen safely.
Every school in Buckinghamshire has carried out a thorough risk assessment. Many of the measures now common in public places are being used in our schools too, like enhanced cleaning, hand sanitiser stations and use of face coverings where needed. Many schools are bringing in changes like staggered start and finish times, and students will be kept in class or year group ‘bubbles’.
Every school has its own tailored plan in place for the new school year and this is being communicated directly by the schools themselves, including the rules on face coverings. If your child is starting or going back to school, make sure you look out for any communication that you get from school in the usual way.
I want to reassure all parents and carers too that while our schools are obviously focussed on helping students to catch up with their studies, there is a big emphasis on their emotional well-being too. We recognise the events of the last few months have impacted all our young people in many different ways and our fantastic school staff are ready to support students however they most need it.
You can read more about the return to school on our website.
Most importantly, if your child or any member of the household starts showing any symptoms of coronavirus please do not send your child to school and begin self-isolating immediately.
|13 August 2020 Press Release from Buckinghamshire Council |
£560K grant to fund Council’s plans to increase bus capacity at the start of the school term
|Social distancing requirements mean that every public transport bus can currently carry roughly half of the normal number of passengers. And with children and young people going back to school and college from 2 September, Buckinghamshire Council is working to alleviate the potential problem of insufficient seating capacity on public transport buses once the new term starts. This work has now received a welcome boost with the announcement of a £560K government grant. Backed by the newly-announced government grant, Buckinghamshire Council is in discussions with the county’s public transport bus companies on how to increase capacity by adding extra services such as additional school-only buses on busy routes. At the same time, the Council is promoting alternative means of travel such as walking or cycling over shorter distances. For longer distances, government guidance also accepts that under these unusual circumstances using the car instead of public transport is an acceptable option. David Martin, Buckinghamshire Council Cabinet Member for Logistics, said: “Because of the much-reduced seating capacity to allow for social distancing, we’ve been working with our local bus operators to identify where there are likely to be problems being able to board a bus at busy times, and to work out solutions. The new government grant is a welcome support for us in getting extra services in place for the start of the school year. “Where it’s possible, though, I’d ask parents and carers to consider finding an alternative means of getting their child to school in the autumn term such as walking or cycling for shorter journeys to reduce the pressure on public transport. Even with extra services in place your child may sometimes have difficulty getting a seat. Additionally, you must be confident that your child can manage the requirements for social distancing, face-covering and hand hygiene necessary to keep them and others safe on a public bus service.” Note that pupil-only school buses such as those run by the Council are not affected by this capacity issue. The risk of passing on the virus is considerably lower on these services because pupil-only buses generally carry the same children every time, and there is no requirement for social distancing on dedicated school only buses. We will publish details of the routes where extra capacity will be provided on the Council website by the end of August. Buckinghamshire Council website.|
| Press Release from Buckinghamshire Council
29 May 2020
|Parents asked to follow new school transport guidelines during coronavirus |
|As schools get ready to welcome back more pupils from 1 June, Buckinghamshire Council is asking parents to help reduce the numbers of passengers using school transport services by following government guidance and taking their children to school if they are able to do so. The Council is working with transport providers to make sure that the government’s guidance is followed on their services to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus. However, maintaining social distancing during journeys is likely to be a challenge, which is why parents are being asked to assist where they can by following the government’s guidance to take their children to school by other means, whether by walking, cycling or using the car. The fewer children that travel on school buses, the better the social distancing will be for those who have no alternative. The Council’s advice and guidance on school transport during coronavirus is available here: www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/service-changes/school-transport-faqs-parents/faqs-wider-opening-schools-1-june-2020 |
For those parents whose children are entitled to free transport because they have special educational needs (SEN), the Council is running a mileage payment scheme for parents if they are able to take their children to school themselves. The scheme pays the normal mileage rate of 45p per mile for a four-way journey each day, covering a round trip twice a day, during this period of disruption. Find out more about the SEN mileage payment scheme at www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/service-changes/school-transport-faqs-parents/faqs-transport-places David Martin, Buckinghamshire Council Cabinet Member for Logistics, said: “Coronavirus means that many of our routine daily activities cannot continue as before, and school buses are a case in point. Usually they are full which means students are in close contact with each other throughout their journeys. When school buses resume taking some of our children to school next week, we will try to ensure appropriate social distancing on them wherever possible; but all parents and carers will, of course, understand there is no way to ensure with certainty that there will be no contact at some time during their children’s journeys. I therefore ask the parents and carers of children returning to school next week to, if at all possible, find alternative ways of getting your children to school during this difficult time. Making your own arrangements will not only reduce any risk of infection to your children; but make social distancing easier for others who have no option but to use the bus.” Cabinet Member for Education and Skills Anita Cranmer said: “As schools make their preparations on the many aspects of keeping everyone safe as children start to return after the lockdown, school transport poses a particular challenge. We’re working closely with both schools and transport operators to ensure that the risk of spreading the virus is as low as possible. Parents also have a part they can play by finding other ways to get to school where this is possible.”
The Council’s advice and guidance on school transport during coronavirus is available here: www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/service-changes/school-transport-faqs-parents
Government guidance for transport operators can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators
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