Goodes Coaches proprietor Anthony Goode has asked Tumut schools to encourage their students over the age of 12 to wear masks on public transport on the way to and from school.
However, he does not regard such masks as essential due to the lack of cases locally.
The advice originally came from NSW Health, and then to companies that run school buses like Goodes in an effort to fight Covid-19.
The request is also that the students socially distance wherever possible, something not easy on a school bus.
“The advice is a recommendation; it’s not compulsory and cannot be enforced,” Mr Goode said.
Not surprisingly, school buses are exempt from physical distancing requirements as opposed to other public transport modes.
“In assessing the likely risks associated with transmission of the coronavirus, I believe that face masks are not essential at this time on our local services,” Mr Goode said.
“As the Murrumbidgee Health area does not have any cases or community transmissions of the virus, face masks will remain as an optional precaution.”
Goodes’ drivers have been issued with masks.
“However, it is up to the drivers’ personal choice to wear them,” Mr Goode said.
“If they can’t physically distance from the kids, then they are likely to wear them.”
Mr Goode said that the same is applicable for the students themselves.
“If parents feel more comfortable for their child to wear a mask where they cannot socially distance on the bus, then parents need to provide masks and encourage their children to wear them.”
Goodes have asked Tumut schools to pass a series of points onto parents via their newsletters.
• Children over the age of 12 are encouraged to wear a mask where physical distancing is not possible, but it is not compulsory.
• Students should not sit next to, directly in front of or behind anyone, unless they are of the same household.
• Students should avoid sitting in the seat behind the driver. In most cases, this seat is taped off, however where the bus is full it should be reserved for infants students only.
• No student will be refused entry for not wearing a mask or if the bus is full (Mr Goode said that since the investigation into the murder of school student Daniel Morcombe, buses are not allowed to leave children on the side of the road.
• Do not send your child to school on the bus if they show symptoms. Mr Goodes believes this is the most import of these points.
Goodes coaches have been sent marking stickers to assist with positioning passengers on their buses in accordance with Covid social distancing requirements, but are unlikely to use them.
Two Goodes drivers have been tested for Covid-19 and returned negative results. There are plans to test more.
“It is good that there is now only 24 hours turnaround time,” Mr Goode said.
“This is something we have to live with and these measures will probably be around for quite some time.”