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Highland Council investigates adding protective screens to school buses

By Scott Maclennan

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Bus Stop.
Bus Stop.

HIGHLAND Council is in the progress of renegotiating some school transport contracts, less than a week before schools reopen.

The latest plans to get pupils back in classrooms from August 12 will be presented to councillors on Thursday.

They have been told that some school transport contracts have been terminated by providers "and others may follow".

Paul Senior, executive chief officer for education and learning, has told councillors: "A key challenge for the local transport system for schools is that the Highland Council’s school transport programme is combined with local public transport routes, and as part of the Covid-19 suppression strategy, passengers on public transport are currently required to adhere to 1m physical distancing measures.

"This reduces the capacity of vehicles and the council are currently working on the detailed implications of the reduced capacity in terms of how best to transport children to school and simultaneously maintain local public bus services.

"The latter are of course an important social service for those living in our smaller communities. Any additional funding for transport will assist the Highland Council in covering these extra costs. The council are examining the fitment [sic] of protective screens, and any additional funding would also assist with this."

Pupils will not be asked to wear face coverings or adhere to social-distancing advice on dedicated school buses.

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