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COVID-19 Precautions for School Transport

By: EUGENE HERBERT

As Nigerian government embarks on strategic easing of covid 19 lockdown, indications are that schools across the nation may in matter of weeks be allowed to get ready for resumption.

When this happens, roads are bound to be busier. Students will also need to follow strict rules when travelling to schools in order to comply with regulation and stay healthy. There are a number of rules that will apply to the various modes of school transport.

Parents who drive their children in their own cars need to follow the anti-COVID-19 rules, which include wearing of face masks, sanitising the vehicle and ensuring there is ventilation. It has not yet been clarified what rules apply to parents that will have more than three occupants in the car.

It is necessary for parents and children in the vehicle to wear masks even though you were in lockdown together.

Also open vehicle windows rather than using the air-con or having no air circulating in the car.

Remember, children can bring the virus into the car with them which can have detrimental consequences for more vulnerable family members.

Talk to your children and explain exactly what process to follow when using public transport and what to do to protect themselves. Face masks and sanitizing of hands before entering the vehicle is mandatory.

The number of passengers allowed to enter the vehicle should be limited to 70% of the usual capacity:

A taxi normally carrying 10 passengers should only carry seven. 

A taxi normally carrying 15 passengers should only seat 10.

A small bus that carries 22 passengers should now only transport 15.

Encourage your child to be aware of the regulations placed on the transport sector. “If they notice that something is not being done, for example, sanitization or passengers are not wearing masks, then make it clear that they should not get into that public transport vehicle.

Face masks, load requirements and sanitization rules apply to all modes of transport.

If your child uses a ride-sharing service to get to school or they travel to school with friends, the same rules apply. As it the rule in South Africa, all students should be required to have permits confirming that they are travelling to school. This should be issued by the heads of the school.

Stress the importance of following these regulations to protect their health and prevent an uncontrollable spread of COVID-19. Explain the importance of the rules, so that when your child decides whether or not to get into a vehicle, they make an informed and educated decision.

While the youth are believed to fare better with COVID-19, a rapid spread of the virus through public transport, and consequently through schools, could create a major problem for Nigerians as a whole. 

We all have a role to play in ensuring this does not happen.

Eugene Herbert is managing director of MasterDrive, SA

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