THE Department of Education has announced that its school transport system will operate ‘as normal’ once the schools are back.
It has said schoolchildren over the age of 13 will be required to wear facemasks while waiting for, and on board, their buses, unless they have a medical reason not to do so.
The young passengers will also be requested to use a hand sanitiser on boarding the buses, but it does not say if Bus Eireann/Dept will provide the sanitiser or if the children should have their own.
An email sent to parents of school bus ticket holders today, from the Department of Education, says the buses ‘will fully operate as normal, but with additional measures and hygiene requirements in place’.
It adds that the plan to run school transport services as normal ‘takes account of the fact that school transport is different from public transport in that each transport service carries the same children on a daily basis to their school. Because of this, the number of people using the service and their identities are known. This would facilitate contact tracing if it were required.’
The email also says it’s important that every child observes hygiene requirements and that children observe the rules on limiting interaction while travelling on school transport services.
It tells parents that the following guidelines should be adhered to by children on school transport services:
- Do not use school transport services if they are displaying obvious symptoms.
- Maintain physical distancing while waiting for transport.
- Always sit in pre-assigned seating and next to a sibling or child from their class group (this should be the same child at all times).
- Use hand sanitiser on boarding the bus.
- Observe respiratory etiquette at all times while waiting for and on-board transport services.
- Disembark the bus one-by-one in an orderly fashion.
- All other children aged 13 years and over are required to wear facemasks while waiting for and on-board transport services (with the exception of children who for medical or special educational needs reasons are not in a position to wear a facemask or face covering).
It advises parents to go to gov.ie/backtoschool for more information.