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Alannah Myles

AUDIO: Council commits to making school runs safer in Oxfordshire during social distancing

It's considering making drop off areas larger, or possibly moving them completely.

The county council has started risk assessing Oxfordshire's school pick up points, to check they're safe for social distancing.

It says some drop offs could be widened, or even moved, to make sure families can stick to the guidelines.

Vehicles could be restricted around some schools, or roads temporarily closed at certain times of day.

County Councillor Liam Walker, Cabinet Member for Highways Delivery & Operations, spoke to JACKfm's Jo Summerbell about the work:

Many children from the reception year, Year 1 and Year 6 returned on June 1st - and with the prospect of further children potentially returning later in the Summer, the council says it's working to create as safe an environment as possible.

Measures it's working on include:

  • A risk assessment of the roadside stops to collect and drop school children to ensure enough space is available for pupils to maintain social distancing guidelines
  • Moving pick up points entirely to a location with a larger available waiting area where required
  • New vehicle loading guidelines: updated information on how many people school transport providers can now carry has been communicated
  • Preparations continue for the proposed return of Year 10 and 12 pupils with further risk assessments planned.

 A recent survey of Oxfordshire County Councillors found that the introduction of school streets; a traffic control measure to restrict motor vehicles around schools at certain times of day, was a standout priority in terms of how Oxfordshire's share of the government's £250m Emergency Active Travel grant fund should be spent.
94% of Oxfordshire schools have remained open for children of essential workers and vulnerable children throughout the pandemic.
Councillor Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, Cabinet Member for Education, said: "Children will be taught in classrooms where safety, hygiene and social distancing are absolute priorities and the council has provided hundreds of thousands of items of personal protective equipment (PPE) to assist schools.
"However, we've also wanted to focus on conditions as children arrive at and leave school and the measures introduced - with more under consideration - will certainly assist with allaying anxieties parents, pupils and teachers may have."
The council is also working on a wider series of temporary changes to roads and transport networks to help residents travel safely and abide by social distancing.

Ideas include more 20 mph speed zones and an improved cycling infrastructure, such as more cycle-only lanes in every town.

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