UK Worried parents share pictures of 'completely overcrowded' school buses last minute news
MetiNews.Com - Parents say crowding onboard the buses undermines the measures implemented by schools to stop the spread of coronavirus
Breaking News ! A series of pictures which show children crammed together on school buses has sparked major concern among parents, who fear it is undermining social distancing measures in classrooms. The worrying images show pupils having to stand on staircases and in the aisles due to a lack of space onboard. Some could be seen sitting on luggage racks, crowding round the driver's cab, and sitting on the floor. Many students were reported not to be wearing a face mask, or seen taking their face covering off after they had passed the driver. The pictures were taken of the 910 and 909 services from St Patrick's school in Eccles to Cadishead, which are operated by Tyrers Coaches and subsidised by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM). Government guidance states that dedicated school buses in Greater Manchester do not need to abide by the normal 1m social distancing rules. The reason given for this is that 'pupils on dedicated school services do not mix with the general public.' Pupils were forced to sit in the aisles due to a lack of space onboard the bus (Image: MEN Media) But parents say crowding onboard the buses undermines the measures implemented by schools to stop the spread of coronavirus. One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said more bus services needed to be made available by TFGM to stop the issue. "The bus is completely overcrowded and there is a risk of Covid spreading," she said. "Some kids are wearing masks, other's aren't. A teacher did come on to warn kids to keep their masks on but some just took them off afterwards. Read More Related Articles Two more people have died in Greater Manchester's hospitals after testing positive for coronavirus Read More Related Articles She sold drugs for him. She got locked up. Suddenly, they had a new client base... "In school, they are in strict bubbles but on the bus the years mix together and there's no social distancing. "We need additional buses so that the kids don't have to stand up and fall over each other." Head teacher Alison Byrne said: "We are aware of the issue of over-crowding on the school buses and have been in liaison with Salford Local authority who have been supporting us to provide additional services; this has been communicated to parents. "All children have been instructed on a daily basis to wear a mask on the bus and staff supervise this at the end of the school day. Students were pictured sitting on luggage racks on the 910 service to Cadishead (Image: MEN Media) "Until a resolution is found, it may be in pupils’ best interests to find alternative transport to and from school where possible. "We are working in very difficult times and, as always, are doing our best to provide the best possible education and support for all our children and families." Another parent, whose son attends Unsworth Academy in Bury, reported similar scenes on Tuesday morning at Radcliffe bus station. He claimed that many students boarding the 524, 712 and 995 Tyrers Coaches services were not wearing a mask and had to stand on the bus. Read More Related Articles How to sign up to our newsletter to get the latest headlines from the M.E.
"I dropped my son off this morning and went to park at Lidl to do some shopping and I was astonished by what I saw," he said. "Three buses went past and they were all absolutely packed. "I saw 10 students get on one bus and only one of them was wearing a mask." The parent praised the Academy for their response to the pandemic, but said more needed to be done to ensure children wear face masks.
Another parent, whose son attends Unsworth Academy in Bury, reported similar scenes on Tuesday morning at Radcliffe bus station
(Image: STEVE ALLEN)
"The school has put a lot of measures in place to have school bubbles so that if someone tests positive in that bubble they can isolate," he said. "There is no point doing that if on that bus all the year groups are mixing together - it is just ruining what the academy is trying to do. "The school has been very proactive but the bus company needs to enforce the wearing of masks. "This is a hotspot area for coronavirus and there must be thousands of children getting the bus across Greater Manchester.
"There is no point in children wearing masks in school if they don't wear them on buses where it is an absolute breeding ground." A spokesperson for the school said: "Unsworth Academy have raised numerous concerns with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) regarding social distancing measures on transport to-and-from school. "School leaders have repeatedly enquired about the implementation of additional bus services in order to reduce the risk of overcrowding "Unfortunately, TfGM have stated that this is not possible due to a lack of funding. "To enable their children to get to school safely, the Academy has been working closely with parents to press for improvements in public transport provision during these difficult times."
MP for Bury South, Christian Wakeford, said more frequent services were needed in order to solve any issues of overcrowding
(Image: Copyright Unknown)
MP for Bury South, Christian Wakeford, agreed that more frequent services were needed in order to solve any issues of overcrowding. "We raised the issue with TFGM that more buses were needed before the children went back to school," he told the M.E.N. "Students not wearing masks is not helpful in this situation and schools need to be setting a reminder to their students about wearing face coverings. "Judgement needs to be used by bus drivers. With coronavirus, the number needs to be lower so we can all abide by the guidelines."
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A spokesperson for Tyrers Coaches said the firm have been abiding by Government guidance, and have implemented a number of safety measures on board services. The full Government guidance states that 'local authorities will not be required to uniformly apply the social distancing guidelines for public transport, on dedicated school or college transport.' The Department for Education state that is it important, wherever possible that: Social distancing should be maximised within vehicles Children either sit with their ‘bubble’ on school transport, or with the same constant group of children each day Children should clean their hands before boarding transport and again on disembarking additional cleaning of vehicles is put in place Organised queuing and boarding is put in place Through ventilation of fresh air (from outside the vehicle) is maximised, particularly through opening windows and ceiling vents. TfGM’s interim head of bus services, Alison Chew, said: “I’d like to reassure those using the bus network that we’re working hard with operators to make it safe and ensure that government guidance is being followed. “The guidance around dedicated school bus services – which doesn’t currently require operators to limit the number of children onboard – is set by the Department for Transport (DfT), and it is the responsibility of each individual operator to ensure this is followed. “We know space is limited on school bus services, which is why we’re encouraging those who can to walk or cycle and why we are putting on almost 300 additional trips a day. “I would also ask that students continue to take responsibility for keeping themselves and others safe by following a few simple measures: wear a face mask, clean and sanitise your hands regularly, use contactless payment and keep your distance from others where possible.”