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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 10 August, 2020
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Pre-assigned seats and face masks: The new rules for Irish schoolchildren getting the bus

The rules will be in place on School Transport Scheme services operated by Bus Éireann.

A rural school bus in Co Mayo.
A rural school bus in Co Mayo.
Image: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

CHILDREN USING THE bus to travel to and from school for the upcoming school year will have designated seats and will have to wear a face covering on board.

As part of the government’s €375 million plan to re-open schools at end of August, the Department of Education has revealed the rules that will be in place on School Transport Scheme services operated by Bus Éireann. 

The scheme operates at both primary and post primary level

The department says that the service will “fully operate as normal” but that a number of hygiene requirements will be in place. 

The requirements include: 

  • Not to use school transport if they are displaying symptoms
  • To maintain physical distancing while waiting for transport
  • To 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)
  • To use hand sanitiser on boarding the bus
  • To observe respiratory etiquette at all times while waiting for and on-board transport services
  • To disembark the bus one by one in an orderly fashion
  • With the exception of those children who for medical or special educational needs reasons are not in a position to wear a face mask or face covering, all other students travelling on the post-primary scheme are required to wear face masks while waiting for and on-board transport services.

The government says that €11.3 million of the overall package has been set aside to support the additional costs that may arise as part of the School Transport Scheme. 

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Face coverings are already mandatory on public transport but the department has noted that school transport is different to public transport for a number of reasons and this has been taken into account. 

Among these considerations, the department says that this is because school transport services “are controlled environments” due to each transport service carrying the same children on a daily basis. 

“It is a restricted group of transport users which will facilitate contact tracing if required,” the department says. 

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Rónán Duffy

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