How Has Covid Affected Schools?

How Has Covid Affected Schools?

Covid-19 has impacted virtually all aspects of everyday life, changing how we move around and where we visit. This has affected the UK’s school system since March, with classes moving to online teaching from home and social distancing requirements in place. With pupils learning from home, many of the usual annual activities that take place in the school calendar have been cancelled.

Across the state sector, sports fixtures were cancelled, summer excursions were scaled back or postponed, and Duke of Edinburgh trips were scrapped. The results mean a reduced need for minibuses within schools. Impacting the equipment that schools have required throughout 2020, minibuses and vehicles regularly used by schools have seen an increase in returns at the end of their rental periods.

Meanwhile, the independent sector was able to see an opportunity and increase its student intake. With social distancing requirements adding the need for extra space, some schools are expanding their fleets to provide improved social distancing when travelling. Additional routes have also been included to cater for increased pupil numbers, giving rise to fleet growth in some regions.

Read more: Must-Haves for Minibus Journeys

Preparing your minibuses for 2021

With the prospect of schools returning in 2021, how can you prepare your minibuses to ensure they are safe? If you’ve had little use for minibuses in 2020, you aren’t alone. Some schools haven’t had a need for minibus use since February or March, leaving them sat stationary for months on end.

Like all vehicles, minibuses need regular maintenance and should have a thorough check before returning to the road. While standard vehicle checks such as MOTs should take place, there are some additional checks that are particularly important, including brake checks and looking for rodent damage, which is typical for minibuses and vans.

At Rivervale, we offer an on-site minibus inspection to ensure your vehicle is ready to go when you need it. The DVSA recommend checks being carried out every ten weeks for cars, with those more than 12 years old having checks every six weeks. Our minibus inspections ensure your vehicle meets the strict safety requirements set out for use in schools.

If you are found to be negligent of maintaining the required checks for your minibus, there is a risk of losing your section 19 permit. To ensure you’re compliant, our checks include:

  • Inspection completed on-site, no need for delivery or collection

  • UK-wide coverage

  • Independent qualified engineers

  • Pre-MOTs, MOTs, servicing and maintenance also available

  • Covid-19 Safe

How to make your minibus Covid-19 safe

A big question that comes up for many schools is how to make their minibuses Covid-19 safe. Aside from regular cleaning and practising social distancing when travelling, installing a Covid screen is one of the most in-demand methods of making your vehicle Covid-safe.

With the ability to be fitted in many models of transit vans that are used as minibuses manufactured from 2014/2015 onwards, the screens create a barrier to provide an added level of protection. Several options are available with most creating a barrier between the driver and passengers.

Read more: Permit 19 Safety Inspections Explained

Made of clear, scratch-resistant material, the screens are DVSA compliant and meet all in-service vehicle standards. Some of the key features of Covid screens include:

  • Do not affect the forward, rearward or sideward view of the driver

  • Quick-release, so driver or cab passenger can easily remove in an emergency

  • Fast and simple to install by professional fitters

This year has seen a big change in the way schools operate, and that may affect their use of any minibus fleets they have available. To ensure you are ready to go in 2021, arranging a minibus safety inspection over the holidays is a great way to keep on top of your maintenance and remain compliant with the requirements of your section 19 permit.

Book your minibus safety inspection today by calling us on 01273 433480.

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