Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Questions (458)

Gary Gannon


458. Deputy Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Education if there is provision to accommodate schools which need substitute bus escorts in cases of a bus escort having to self-isolate due to Covid-19; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25189/20]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the 2019/20 school year over 120,000 children, including over 14,200 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres at a cost of over €219m in 2019.

Based on the public health advice published in early July, my Department has been planning for School Transport Scheme services for the 2020/2021school year to fully operate, but with additional measures and hygiene requirements in place.

In a case where a school bus escort must self isolate due to displaying symptoms of Covid 19, or due to someone in their household whi is suspected or known to have COVID-19, the bus escort should not attend work for the period advised by HSE guidelines. In this case a substitute bus escort may be employed by the school to cover the length of time that the bus escort is self isolating. The cost for substitution can be claimed from School Transport Section of my Department in the normal manner.