Worksop asthmatic teen ‘scared’ to get on overcrowded school bus

A worried Worksop mum has told how her asthmatic daughter is ‘scared’ to get on the school bus and is ‘terrified’ of catching Covid-19.

Tuesday, 22nd September 2020, 4:45 pm

Annmarie Connolly - whose ‘vulnerable’ daughter had been shielding from the virus until August - told how her only child was forced to sit next to children outside her school bubble on ‘crowded’ buses every day to and from school.

Frightened Annmarie, 50, described how on the first day of school this month children were ‘standing’ on the Stagecoach bus as there were ‘not enough seats’ available.

The frustrated mum says despite children being kept in year-group bubbles at school, children from multiple years sit next to each other on the bus - with no seating plan in place.

Annmarie Connolly with daughter Shannon
Annmarie Connolly with daughter Shannon

Her daughter Shannon, 15, travels from Worksop to Mansfield’s All Saints’ Catholic school every day.

Annmarie is so worried about the daily journey she has even considered keeping her daughter at home but fears being fined by the school.

However after complaining to Stagecoach she was told the company is adhering to Government guidelines - which state social-distancing is not needed on school buses as all children are travelling to the same destination.

She said: “The bus company say there are only 28 kids on the bus but they’re mixing from all the different year groups.

Asthmatic Shannon Connolly is is ‘scared’ to get on the school bus and is ‘terrified’ of catching Covid-19

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“There’s no seating plan in place and they sit wherever they want and they’re sitting with different kids every day.

“The school are doing what they can but once kids are off the school grounds it’s out of their control.”

Mum-of-one Annmarie told how Shannon - who also suffers with chronic migraines - was sent home to self-isolate on Friday along with 20 other children after a Year 11 student tested positive for Covid-19.

All Saints' Catholic Voluntary Academy, Mansfield

“If Shannon got Covid she could be very ill - she was advised by the NHS to shield until August 1.

“Now she’s frustrated and anxious - all I can do is try and reassure her but I feel like I’m letting her down because I can’t protect her.”

Annmarie says although the school is doing its best for students social-distancing there was ‘non-existent’.

She said: “It’s like we’re told now not to mix in groups of more than six but at school it’s a free-for-all.

“She’s in five lessons a day and is being exposed to at least 125 different children - I feel like the Government needs to do something about this because they’re treating our kids like Guinea pigs.”

A Stagecoach spokesperson said buses serving a school were classed as a bubble and pupils should sit in their bubbles or year groups if possible.

She added: “We are constantly reviewing the situation to ensure capacity levels are supported effectively and are in touch with councils and schools for feedback."

An All Saints’ spokesperson said all students boarded buses in their year groups and checks were made that they wore face masks.

She said: “Last week the local authority carried out an inspection and a representative commented very positively on the conduct of our students and the procedures the school had put in place.”

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