Two school bus operators in Angus will require pupils to wear face coverings when travelling on their services, Angus Council have announced.
National guidance published ahead of schools reopening tomorrow does not make the wearing of face coverings mandatory on most school services, nor does it require pupils to socially distance.
However, the guidance does require transport operators to carry out their own risk assessments for each of their services to ensure the safety of those on board.
Following such assessment, both JP Minicoaches and Redline have requested that pupils travelling on their services wear face coverings.
Important update re school transport
Although national guidance does not make the wearing of face coverings mandatory on most school services, operators are required to carry out their own risk assessments for each of their services.
— Angus Council (@AngusCouncil) August 11, 2020
This means that pupils who use some services to schools such as Forfar Academy and Webster’s High School in Kirriemuir and Letham and Whitehills primary schools will have to wear face covering when on the vehicles.
Guidance issued by Angus Council also said any face coverings left on vehicles would be disposed of.
Drivers and any accompanying adults will also be required to wear them.
Posting on social media, the local authority apologised for the late change to the travel arrangements.
A spokesman for JP Coaches, which operates throughout the north-east of Scotland, explained the back to school plans were an ongoing effort and the decision was taken to ensure safety.
He said: “Everything is still up for review and all we can really do is get schools back and see where we are.
“Then we can review it again in a day or so and do what’s safest for the pupils and staff.”
A spokesman for Redline Coaches, which operates across Tayside and Fife, added: “We fully support the position that has been taken.”
A full list of the services which will require pupils to wear a face covering whilst travelling on them can be found on the Angus Council’s website.
The announcement came as another transport provider, Fisher Tours, unveiled the range of safety precautions they have put in place for passengers travelling on their service.
The company, which provides transport for occasions such as school and nursery group outings, will require passengers to wear a face covering while travelling on their vehicles
Drivers will also have their temperature checked at the start of their duty every day and wear masks while not behind the wheel of the vehicle.
Hand sanitiser dispensers have been installed in all coaches.