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Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

Schools, colleges, and nurseries

Colleges, primary and secondary schools have now returned to face-to-face education following the Governments roadmap out of lockdown.

All secondary schools and colleges are offering their pupils and students COVID-19 testing (rapid lateral flow tests) to carry out at home. Rapid twice-weekly testing is also available for everyone in the borough and can be accessed in a number of ways. Find out how to get a test on the Council’s testing without symptoms webpage.

Schools, colleges and early years settings have completed robust risk assessments for their individual sites and have put their own procedures in place to help keep their staff and pupils safe and reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Please visit your school's website for further details.

Additional COVID-19 measures in schools

The Council's Public Health and Education teams have recommended the introduction of some additional precautionary measures in schools across the borough, alongside the national guidance that all schools are following. These measures include:

  • All staff and pupils in year seven and above should wear a face covering while indoors at school or college. This includes classrooms where social distancing cannot be maintained, with the exception of certain lessons such as PE.
  • Pupils from year seven and above are encouraged to take regular rapid result COVID-19 tests every week. Schools will provide pupils with home testing kits directly.
  • All adults to wear a face covering when visiting or entering the school premises including outdoor yard areas.
  • Parents/carers to arrive and leave promptly when dropping off/collecting their child - please do not congregate and maintain social distancing as we know that the virus is easily transmitted from person to person.
  • In schools where it has been agreed that a parent/carer can enter the school premises for drop off and pick up, only one adult should enter.
  • Young people to avoid congregating outside school and mixing with other schools and go directly home.
  • Pupils travelling on mainstream home to school transport or those aged 11 years and over travelling on public transport must wear a face covering unless they are exempt. This includes pupils travelling on SEN transport.

The Council will continue to be guided by the latest public health advice. Please play your part by following these additional measures to help reduce the transmission of the virus locally.

What to do if you have a child self-isolating but their sibling can still attend school

It's important that any child not showing COVID-19 symptoms or any child who has not been advised to self-isolate by their school or the NHS test and trace service remains in school so they can continue with their education.

If an adult or a child within a household is self-isolating but you have another child that needs to get to school, there are some options below you can follow to help your non-isolating child get to school safely without risking spreading the virus.

  • If there is another adult within the household not isolating they can take them to school.
  • If a child is old enough, lives within three miles of the school, and are able to, they should walk, cycle or scoot to school on their own.
  • If the school is over three miles and the child is old enough, they should use public transport to get to school by themselves, if it is available.
  • If the child is too young or public transport is not available parents should initially approach other family members or neighbours to take the non-isolating child to school (as per national guidance allowing for informal childcare).
  • If the above options are not suitable for your circumstances, please get in touch with your child's school and they will work with you to make alternative arrangements.

School transport

This guidance is effective from 1 September 2020 for Cheshire West and Chester Council provided school and college transport and the use of public transport by students travelling to and from school and college.

Families are asked to think ahead and plan their journey to school in advance. If you can, walk, cycle or scoot to school to help reduce congestion on the roads and pressure on public transport at peak times. If you need to use a car, consider parking away from the school entrance and walking the last section of your journey to school by foot.

Please follow the Government guidance below to help keep your child safe. Please talk to your child about the general advice and rules in place for the type of transport service they travel on and that they understand the guidance set out in the passenger etiquette:

To help keep your child and fellow students safe, your child should not travel if:

  • they are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms including high temperature, new continuous cough and/ or change or loss of sense of taste and smell.
  • they are self-isolating as a result of coronavirus symptoms or sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms.
  • they have been advised by the NHS test and trace service to self-isolate.
  • The requirements for social distancing on board vehicles will depend on the type of service your child is using. You will need to ensure that your child is aware of the requirements for their particular service. Where possible, children should keep their distance from others who are not in their household. Public Health England recommends that people stay two metres apart from others who are outside their household or support bubble, or a one metre plus approach where this is not possible. If this isn't possible, children should avoid physical contact, face away from others, and keep the time spent near others as short as possible.
  • Social distancing should be maintained while queuing, boarding and alighting a vehicle where possible.
  • Transport will continue for pupils attending school as per the timetables sent with travel passes and in the case of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) transport, notification of transport letters.
  • Government guidance has confirmed that social distancing on dedicated school and college transport vehicles will not be mandatory from September 2020 (unlike travel on the public transport network). However, where possible, distancing within vehicles should be maintained.
  • Your child should sit with the same constant group of children each day. This means they must board the vehicle, at the pick-up point stated on their pass (or in the case of SEND transport, the pick-up point agreed in their notification of transport letter - normally the home address). This is imperative for Track and Trace purposes.
  • Pupils travelling on mainstream home to school transport must wear a face covering, unless they are exempt. This includes pupils travelling on SEN transport.
  • Where face coverings are worn, pupils must be able to use a face covering as per the directions below.
  • Some people may not be able to wear a face covering, for example very young children, those with breathing difficulties and people whose disabilities makes it difficult for them to wear or manage a face covering.
  • Your child should use hand sanitiser or wash their hands for at least 20 seconds before their journey and as soon as possible after the journey. To facilitate this, all school transport operators will carry hand sanitiser for staff and students to use.
  • To promote the catch it, bin it, kill it approach you should ensure your child carries tissues on home to school transport. These will need to be disposed of in a covered bin as soon as possible.
  • Transport operators have been advised to clean frequently touched surfaces after each journey wherever possible, and to carry out enhanced cleaning at the end of each day.
  • Transport operators have been advised to ensure good ventilation of fresh air wherever possible by keeping windows or roof lights open.
  • Government guidance exempts employees of the transport operator from wearing face coverings when they are acting in the course of their employment, however, some employees may choose to wear a face covering as a personal choice.
  • Passenger records will be maintained and made available for the purpose of the NHS test and trace service.
  • When travelling in taxis or private hire vehicles your child should follow the advice of the driver. For example, they may be asked to sit in the back-left hand seat if travelling alone. If they need to be near other people, they should avoid physical contact, try not to be face to face with other people, and keep the time spent near other people as short as possible.
  • The Government advises that capacity on public transport remains limited given the requirements for social distancing. This will be particularly challenging for children and young people who travel to school or college by public bus or train. The government advice is for children and young people to walk, cycle or scoot to school where possible. Parents and carers should plan ahead to ensure their child can travel to and from school or college safely. Face coverings are mandatory by law on public transport for children aged 11 and over.
  • We have worked closely with transport operators across the borough to identify where social distancing may restrict students' ability to travel, a number of additional services will be operating in these areas to increase capacity. As well as being available to those pupils who have a free travel pass for these individual services, these will be fare paying services available to school pupils not in receipt of a free travel pass.

Additional services will supplement existing local bus services, if there is a continued requirement.

Timetable information for local bus services:

Public transport | Traveline

Bishops Bluecoat High School

  • Bus Number: S61
  • Operator: Stagecoach
  • Route: Dodleston - Chester Bus Interchange - Boughton

Departs 7.50am from Dodleston Primary School stop then as service 61 to Westminster Park. Then direct to Bus Interchange and School. This bus does not operate via Dennis Drive or Handbridge. Returns at 3.25pm from school. Normal fares apply.

Christleton High School

  • Bus Number: S41 (41B)
  • Operator: Aintree Coachline
  • Route: Chester - Huntington - Christleton

Departs Chester Railway Station stand S5  at 7.55am, Chester Bus Interchange stand C at 7.57am, Huntington Rake & Pikel at 8.07am, Christleton High School bus stop at 8.30am. Returns from bus stop opposite school 3.12pm. Normal fares apply.

Helsby High School

  • Bus Number: S2
  • Operator: Stagecoach
  • Route: Elton to Helsby High School

Departs 8.06am at Meadow View, Dalewood Close then as service 2 route to Helsby High School. Carries school pupils only. Normal fares apply. Returns at 3.25pm from bus stop opposite school. Normal fares apply.

Neston High School

  • Bus Number: S59
  • Operator: Aintree Coachline
  • Route: Hooton to Neston High School

Departs Hooton Road 8.15am, Neston Road, Willaston Green (8.20am), Hanns Hall Road, Chester High Road, Raby Park Road, to Neston High School. Returns from school bus park at 3.10pm. Normal fares apply.

Sir John Deanes College

These services will resume from 15 March 2021.

  • Bus Number: S29
  • Operator: Selwyns
  • Route: Winsford - Kingsmead

An additional vehicle will be provided on service 29 for College students only. Departs Over St Johns 7.40am then Abbots Way (7.49am), Winsford Guidhall (8am), Wharton Library (8.08am) and Moulton Beehive Corner (8.17am). Returns 3.30pm from Kingsmead bus stop (opposite Sir John Deanes). Normal fares apply.

  • Bus Number: S82
  • Operator: Stagecoach
  • Route: Chester to Sir John Deanes

St Johns Drive, Oakmere Road, Delamere Street, Nixon Drive, Abbott's Way, Saxon Crossway, Nixon Drive, Grange Lane, High Street (A54) Guildhall, A5018, Wharton Road, Crook Lane, Bradbury Road, Wharton Road (B5355), Bostock Road (B5018), A533, Jack Lane, London Road, Kingsmead to Sir John Deanes' College. Special student fares apply £3.50-day ticket, £14 weekly ticket, no singles. Only Stagecoach tickets will be accepted on this service.

Tarporley High School

  • Bus Number: S84
  • Operator: Arrowebrook Coaches
  • Route: Tarvin - Tarporley High School

Departs Tarvin High Street at 8.15am then St Andrews Church (8.16am), Duddon (8.21am), Clotton (8.24am) to Tarporley Community Centre. Returns from stop opposite Community Centre at 3.34pm. Carries Tarporley High School pupils only. Normal fares apply.

Upton High School

  • Bus Number: S15
  • Operator: Stagecoach
  • Route: Saughall - Upton High School

Departs 7.45am from Lodge Lane terminus then as service 15 route to Parkgate Road then operates direct to school. Carries school pupils only. Normal fares apply. Returns at 3.25pm from bus stop outside school. Normal fares apply.

  • Bus Number: S51
  • Operator: Stagecoach
  • Route: Chester Bus Interchange to Upton High School

An extra vehicle will be deployed to duplicate service 51 at 8.09am.

Weaverham High School

  • Bus Number: S48
  • Operator: Barratts Coaches
  • Route: Hatchmere Cross Roads - Weaverham High School

Departs Hatchmere 7.52am then Norley High Street (7.56am), Crowton Hare & Hounds (8.01am), Acton Bridge Station (8.05am) then via Station Road to Weaverham – Withens Lane Library (8.15am). Carries school pupils only. Returns at 3.16pm from Withens Lane. Fares will not be charged on this service.

More information about the additional services is available on:

  • A cloth face covering should cover your child's mouth and nose while allowing your child to breathe comfortably. The covering can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head.
  • Your child should wash their hands or use hand sanitiser before putting on the face covering or taking it off. Your child should avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth at all times and should store used face coverings in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them.
  • They should not touch the front of the face covering, or the part of the face covering that has been in contact with their mouth and nose. Once removed, any surfaces that have been in contact with the covering will need to be thoroughly cleaned.
  • Face coverings must be washed regularly and can be included with other laundry, using your normal detergent.
  • The Government has published guidance on how to wear and make a face covering.

Some residents and businesses have kindly offered to donate digital devices to support pupils with remote learning. Alongside the DFE Get help with technology programme, which local schools can access, there are also schemes available to help connect available devices with the pupils who need them.

The Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership has connections to business and charitable organisations and can organise for donated devices to be delivered to schools that need them. You can donate through one of the three organisations below who will organise to distribute digital devices to schools in the west Cheshire area.

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