School transport transmission risk remains unresolved

Government guidance on the reopening of schools in September leaves unresolved the fact that many pupils have no choice but to use either public transport or school buses, and will therefore be mixing with other year groups and other schools. a report by the EPI says.

The report says: “while the government is telling schools to create bubbles of entire year groups within schools, there is currently no credible solution to the problem of them then mixing with other year groups, and other schools, on the bus home again. Parents of pupils with health conditions will have even more concerns in such a situation.”

The Department for Transport’s National Travel Survey estimates that 45 per cent of pupils either walk or cycle to school, and a further 35 per cent are taken by car – meaning. However 1 in 5 pupils  use either public transport or school buses. At secondary level this rises to 1 in 3 pupils (of these around two thirds take public transport).

The EPI says it is a difficult challenge to fix and the government is now asking local authorities to work with schools to identify typical routes to schools and the potential to move to other modes of transport and consider other ways to manage demand on transport. The report cites the Olympics 2012 as an example of how travel can be adapted but understands that things have changed since then.

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