Cork parents concerned about lack of social distancing on school buses

Principal Fergal McCarthy said many parents have opted to drive their children to school instead
Cork parents concerned about lack of social distancing on school buses

The Government has said that social distancing would soon be introduced on school buses, but that it would have to be phased in. File Picture

Parents in Cork say they are concerned about the lack of social distancing on local school buses.

Parents from the Bandon and Kinsale areas of the county say that while schools are doing everything they can to adhere to the Covid-19 guidelines and restrictions, buses with no social distancing measures in place are currently collecting students from the area. 

Last Month, Education minister Norma Foley said that up to 1,600 buses would be required to ensure secondary school students can get to school and that the Government was working on providing this transport as “quickly as possible”.

The Government also said that social distancing would be introduced on school buses, but that it would have to be phased in. 

However, speaking this morning to Patricia Messinger on C103's Cork Today Show, the principal of Kinsale Community School said all school buses are operating but that, "the social distancing required has not been obtained."

Principal Fergal McCarthy said that the issue of how to properly implement social distancing on buses, and therefore the issue of extra school bus availability, should have been looked at in more detail before schools reopened.

He said: "We were told extra buses would be provided but that has not happened yet.

The gap between them saying that this needed to be done, and the reality of schools reopening, the timeframe wasn't there to facilitate this happening on an immediate basis. 

Mr McCarthy said that bus companies aren't liaising with schools in relation to the matter and there has been no indication given as to when more buses may become available.

"I do know that parents, at significant inconvenience to themselves, have elected not to send their children on school buses, but rather to drive them to school themselves.

"That's not tenable or a realistic prospect for many who, because of their own work commitments, or for other reasons, can't do that."

While school buses present an issue, Mr McCarthy said that social distancing inside the school grounds has been largely maintained.

He said: "The students have been magnificent around it. 

"There's 100% compliance in respect of mask-wearing, visor-wearing, in respect of one-way systems within the school, accessing lockers and so on - there's complete compliance. 

"It would appear to me that there is a level of appreciation of what schools do, that was perhaps taken for granted in the pre-Covid era."

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