Face coverings to become mandatory on Devon school transport – and children can be refused travel under ‘two strikes’ system

Children without face coverings can be turned away from Devon school transport when the measure becomes mandatory after the half-term break. 

It will become a condition of travel on Monday, November 2, with youngsters facing a ‘two strikes’ policy.

Education chiefs have asked pupils aged 11 and over to wear masks since the start of term – but say many have ignored the advice.

A Devon County Council spokesperson said: “If a student is found not wearing a face covering by the school or transport operator on two occasions, and there is no record of them being exempt from using one, they will be refused travel for a period of time.

“Face coverings are mandatory on public transport as part of the Government’s measures to combat Covid-19, but the Department for Education’s (DfE) guidelines state that social distancing does not apply on school transport as it is not open to the general public.”

Those travelling on Special Educational Needs (SEN) transport will not be included in the new policy.

All secondary schools and colleges are being issued with Devon County Council exemption cards that can be given to eligible pupils upon parental request.

“Failure to produce this exemption card when boarding school transport without a face covering could result in a warning and ultimately a refusal to allow the student onto the vehicle,” added the DCC spokesperson.

SEN school pupils will not require an exemption card.

Councillor James McInnes, cabinet nember for education, added: “Although we had previously been asking students aged 11 and over to remember to wear a face covering on school transport, a number of parents have contacted us expressing concerns over the number of children who haven’t been doing so.

“We’re working closely with schools and transport operators to reinforce the importance of face coverings, and by making it a condition of travelling on school transport we hope to ensure that children have as safe a journey as possible to and from school.”

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No new Covid-related deaths in East Devon or Exeter in latest weekly stats

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