Masks to be made compulsory on school buses from next week
STUDENTS will be made to wear face masks on school buses from next week.
When term started earlier this month, LibertyBus’s guidelines said that while face coverings were recommended for all school bus passengers, students would not have to wear masks in order to travel. However, the company has now said that due to the majority of students choosing not to wear masks, and with a number of school buses now running at full capacity, the policy has changed, meaning pupils without a mask could be prevented from travelling, unless they are exempt from wearing a face covering.
The rule is in place for all students from the age of 11 and they will be able to buy a disposable mask from the driver for 60p.
Face masks are already required on regular network bus routes, with some Islanders being exempt on the grounds of health or disability.
Kevin Hart, director of LibertyBus, said: ‘We’ve monitored bus capacities over the first few weeks of term and have found that many are now running at full capacity. We had hoped that by strongly recommending face coverings on school buses the majority of students would comply, but unfortunately this has not been the case and it’s become necessary to enforce this more strongly.
‘For the first few weeks of the new regulations we will be helping to ensure every student has a face covering and masks will be given for free to anyone who does not have the funds to pay for one. We will also be monitoring those who consistently refuse to comply with the rules and will be working closely with schools to address any issues and ensure no students are refused travel for not wearing a mask.’
Any student who is medically exempt from wearing a face covering can apply for an exemption card by contacting their school or the LibertyBus customer-service desk at Liberation Station.
Education Minister Tracey Vallois said: ‘We appreciate that this will be a new experience for many of our students and we will continue to be understanding and work with LibertyBus to ensure that all schools, students and their families are aware of the new guidelines for school buses. We will offer support to any young person or family that might have difficulties purchasing a mask or is unable to wear one for health reasons.
‘Students are strongly encouraged to wear their own mask, but any young person who does not have a face mask, or the money to buy one, will be given a free disposable one by bus drivers over the next two weeks.
‘Each school will also be given a supply of disposable masks by the Department of Children, Young People, Education and Skills. If schools are aware or are alerted to the fact that a student does not have access to a mask, or funds to purchase them, then the school will support the student.’
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