TRAVEL safety measures are being put in place and information made available to help children and families returning to schools across Leicester from this week.
Leicester City Council has been working with schools across the city to get ready for the return of thousands of pupils – many of them for the first time since March – and ensuring they can follow travel guidelines to keep them safe.
Updated cycling and walking maps showing safe routes have been given to schools to share with families, to encourage more people to travel on foot or by bike wherever possible.
A handy journey planner, allowing people to select easy, safe routes between school and home, is also available at the Choose How You Move website here.
Social distancing reminders have been stencilled on pavements outside some schools to prevent crowds forming while waiting to collect or drop-off, and lamp post wraps have been put in place with key health messaging and advice on staying safe.
Marshals will be present outside some schools with particular problems around congregating or queueing, to engage with and advise families.
Areas of the street outside some schools have temporarily been closed to traffic to improve road safety and further encourage walking or cycling.
A comprehensive set of frequently asked questions has also been made available online, giving information on all aspects of travelling safely. It is available here.
In addition, advice is also being given to families who rely on public transport or car sharing on the school run, including planning ahead to check bus timetables, wearing face coverings and regularly washing or sanitising hands.
Extra buses will be operating on busy public transport routes, to make up for the reduction in the numbers of passengers allowed on each vehicle due to social distancing measures.
Pupils are also being encouraged to purchase newly-introduced flexi tickets which allow travel on any of the area’s main bus operators, rather than being tied to a single operator.
People who need to care share are also being advised of the importance of trying to ensure they travel with the same people each time, open the windows and wear a face covering if 11 or older.
The measures are all part of a wider programme of work to help families faced with returning to school for the first time since the start of lockdown, and builds on the ongoing work across the city creating a network of pop-up safer routes for cycling and walking.
Leicester assistant city mayor responsible for schools, Cllr Elly Cutkelvin, said: “With thousands of children due to return to school for the first time in over five months, we want to be sure they do so safely, supporting the good work that’s been done in schools to tackle the risk of COVID-19 so far.
“We’ve been working with schools over the last few weeks, to help us get the messages out to parents that they should walk or cycle to school if at all possible, and if they have to rely on public transport or car sharing, how to do so as safely as possible.
“All schools are busy at drop-off and pick-up times, and measures to help maintain social distancing, reduce traffic congestion and reinforce the key public health messages will all help to manage the situation as safely as possible.
“We’ve also pulled together a lot of helpful information to reassure and guide parents and their children about the ways in which we are working together on all aspects of getting back into the classroom for a new term.
“Returning to the routine of school life after such a long time away is quite a significant milestone for many families, and we want to ensure they get all the help they need to feel confident and safe in doing so.”
Comprehensive information and guidance on all aspects of returning to school, helping children’s wellbeing and explaining measures to limit the risk COVID-19 is available on the city council's coronavirus advice webpages.