Cheshire East Council is seeking parents’ views on how their children travel to school – so that plans can be made for pupils’ safe return to school in September.
The Covid-19 pandemic has created significant challenges for every local authority across the country to ensure that the education of children and young people is as safe as possible, including travel to and from school.
Recent government guidance has asked councils to work with schools, parents, carers and transport providers to put in place measures to minimise the risks from coronavirus when children and young people are travelling to and from school. These measures include increased hygiene, cleaning and social distancing on school transport from September, when pupils are required to return to school.
The government has asked that councils:
● Work with schools to survey parents on their typical routes to school and potential alternatives;
● Consider a range of options for shifting demand for public transport onto other modes; and
● Consider traffic management in order to ensure that children are able to attend school from the start of the autumn term
Two online surveys by the council are aimed at two groups:
● A dedicated survey for parents that rely on the authority to provide home-to-school travel assistance. This group will be contacted directly by the council’s transport company, Transport Services Solutions (TSS).
● A survey for those that travel to school on either public transport or by other means. This group will be contacted directly by the schools.
Councillor Kathryn Flavell, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for children and families said: “Whilst we want to minimise the impact on children and their families of any new measures, we also need to consider all options to make children’s travel to school as safe as possible.
“Through these surveys, we are seeking your help, as parents and carers, to enable us to identify alternative travel options that we could support you with, where possible.
“We know that many parents are apprehensive about their children going back to school and we want to make school transport as safe as we can.
“Time is of the essence. I urge all parents and carers that are in receipt of travel assistance, especially those who travel by bus, minibus or taxi, to complete our survey before the deadline of 20 July. The survey should take five minutes to complete and will help us enormously to put plans into place ahead of children returning to school in September.”
Councillor Laura Crane, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for highways and waste said: “Our surveys are a chance for parents and carers to carefully consider whether there are opportunities to walk or cycle to schools. Active travel will be increasingly important as the pressures on public transport are managed, if we are to avoid far greater levels of traffic congestion at and around schools.”
The deadline for responses is Monday 20 July 2020.