Whole school Risk Assessment
We are currently busy planning and risk assessing for school reopening to all children in September. As part of this risk assessment, we are looking at how children get to and from school every day so that we can limit congestion at drop off and pick up times and hopefully ensure that all pupils can attend school for the full school hours.
As you will appreciate, due to government guidance on social distancing, public transport and the need for schools to adhere to social bubbles, school buses will not be able to transport as many children on one journey. New guidance from the government on transport for children with EHCP states:
Pupils on dedicated school services do not mix with the general public on those journeys and tend to be consistent. This means that the advice for passengers on public transport to adopt a social distance of two metres from people outside their household or support bubble, or a ‘one metre plus’ approach where this is not possible, will not apply from the autumn term on dedicated transport.
However, to reduce the risk of infection and safeguard staff and children, transport will be working on the ratio of one child per double seat so that some degree of social distancing can be maintained. As you will appreciate, this will have a significant impact on children getting to and from school on a daily basis as not all children will be able to fit on their usual bus. As LCC have no additional buses, this may mean staggered pick up and drop off times, meaning your child’s day may be shorter than normal or could mean your child can only attend on a part time basis.
As part of our whole school risk assessment, we have reorganised and restructured class provision so that children can be taught in much smaller bubbles. The purpose of these bubbles is to limit the number of adults and children in close contact throughout the school day and contain any spread of infection, ultimately reducing the risk to the school population should a child or member of staff test positive for COVID19. In the event of a member of our school population testing positive, the bubble that they are in will be disbanded and all children and staff within this bubble will be asked to self isolate for 14 days.
A concern for us as a school for children who are travelling on school transport is that these children will be classed as being in two different bubbles. This increases the number of children each child is in close contact with and increases the risk of spreading infection to a greater number of children and staff in school should anyone test positive. It also increases the risk of your child having to self isolate should a bubble need to be disbanded.
Things to consider
We have a meeting with the school transport team on Friday 17th July at 1pm to consider how we can safely manage getting children to and from school. For the meeting we need to know how many parents/carers will need to use the school transport and how many will be bringing their child in themselves.
We want to make our school environment as safe as possible for all children and staff. We also want to avoid, if possible, having to stagger start and finish times as this will significantly reduce the amount of time children brought to school on transport are in school. If the majority of parents request transport then this will likely result in your child having either a later pick up from home in the morning or an earlier finish in the afternoon or could mean your child may have to attend on a part time basis.
To help us with our risk assessments please can you contact the school office to confirm whether you will require school transport in September or whether you will be able to transport your child to and from school yourself. Please could you do this by 11am on Friday 17thJuly.
Please note that from September, LCC will reimburse any parents with travel expenses if they choose not to use school transport whilst the social distancing limitations are in place. This is available to all parents who choose to bring their child to school themselves and will hopefully reduce the demand for school transport.
Please can we ask that you consider the following points when deciding whether to use school transport when returning to school in September 2020.
· Are you able to walk to school with your child?
· Can your child walk to school independently?
· Are you able to bring your child to and from school in your own vehicle?
· Is school transport the only way your child can get to and from school?
· Can your child wear a facemask on school transport?
(This is not an essential requirement but would be preferable if possible)
We appreciate that school transport is an entitlement for all children with an EHCP and that for some families, it is the only option for getting their child to and from school. What we are asking is for all families to consider whether this service is essential whilst social distancing limitations are in place.
Our aim as a school is to get all children back full time ASAP. We will be working closely with school transport to see how this can be achieved given the risk assessments in place and limitations of their service as a result. If demand for transport is high, then this will affect your child’s time in school.
We will endeavour to update you before school closes on Tuesday 21st July.
Thank you for your continued patience and support,