Reminder to stay safe on your journey to school or work

Photo of school transport face covering campaign

Posted on: 2 March 2021

As schools prepare for the return of all pupils next week, Devon County Council is reminding students and commuters to think about how they can keep themselves and others safe on their commute to school or work.

Devon County Council will again be providing around 70 duplicate services to create additional capacity across the county at peak times for students who travel to and from school or college on the bus or train, where social distancing measures remain in place.

Exeter College students who use rail services, are encouraged to consider using the rail replacement coaches which have been laid on for them – this will help rail staff to maintain social distancing on rail services to and from college. More details about all these services can be found on the Travel Devon website.

As a condition of travel on school transport in Devon, students aged 11 and over must wear a face covering when travelling on dedicated school transport, unless they are exempt. Face coverings are mandatory on public transport as part of the Government’s measures to combat COVID 19. All commuters on public transport are also asked to think of others, keep your distance, wear a face covering, and allow extra time for your journey.

Students, drivers and passenger assistants are also advised that they must not board school transport if they or a member of their household has coronavirus symptoms. If they develop symptoms while at school they must not travel home on school transport.

Photo of Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for transport said: “Although government restrictions will start to ease from next week we still need people to be vigilant and follow the guidelines, such as wearing masks on transport. We would urge you all to do it for your family, your community, and for Devon. We have been working closely with transport providers and schools/colleges since last summer to ensure that school transport is as safe as possible. Additional services will run again from next week to increase capacity for students on their return to school and college.”

Photo of Councillor James McInnes

Councillor James McInnes

Councillor James McInnes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for education, said: “As schools make a full return following the latest lockdown, we just want to take this opportunity to remind people of the essential advice for when travelling on public transport and school transport. Students over the age of 11 must wear face coverings at all times on dedicated school transport vehicles for their own safety, as well as the safety of their fellow students. Now that spring is here and the weather has started to improve, some families might also choose to walk, scoot or cycle rather than use school transport.”

The County Council is operating a “two strikes” policy in terms of the wearing of face coverings on school transport. Students found not wearing a face covering by the school or transport operator on two occasions (if they are not exempt from using one) will be refused travel for a period of time.

The majority of children travelling on SEN transport are exempt from wearing face coverings. However, passengers with SEN who can wear a face covering are encouraged to do so.

All secondary schools and colleges can issue Devon County Council exemption cards for exempt students upon parental request. Failure to produce this exemption card when boarding school transport without a face covering could result in a warning and ultimately a refusal to allow the student onto the vehicle. SEN school students will not require an exemption card.

For more details of those who are exempt please visit the government website.

More information on transport services in the county is available on the Travel Devon website and our dedicated coronavirus webpages.

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