LONDON August 25: With hundreds of schools across Kent and East Sussex set to reopen next week, Southeastern has launched a new Back to School Safety guide for parents and students. While the guide briefs students on personal safety measures, Southeastern are also prepping stations with one-way systems and additional station staff to aid passengers with social distancing.
To accommodate the increase in passenger numbers, Southeastern will be increasing services to 98% of the pre-COVID timetable on 7th September 2020. This will provide over 50,000 extra seats each weekday and additional space on board to allow for social distancing.
All children aged 11 and over, that do not have exemption, are currently required to wear a face mask on public transport, making masks the new ‘Back to School’ essential for students. Southeastern are committed to ensuring no child will be prevented from travel and will therefore have a supply of face masks in the instance that a child forgets to bring their own.
Thousands of students pass through Southeastern stations on any given school day. To control the flow of passengers, Southeastern has hired additional staff at the busiest student stations that will serve specifically to control the flow of students, guide passengers through one-way systems and promote social distancing.
These new measures have been introduced on top of existing safety protocols across the network, including enhanced deep cleaning processes, contactless payment facilities and hand sanitiser dispensers.
Southeastern has collated all safety information onto its new “Back to School” webpage, to provide passengers, parents and schools with direct access to the latest measures and requirements for safe travel.
David Statham, Managing Director of Southeastern said: “At Southeastern, we realise what a big moment the return to school will be for the students; and as a father, I understand how important the safety of their children is to parents.
“The Southeastern network provides a lifeline for students in accessing their education, and we take our responsibility for getting them there safely very seriously. That is why we have been working with schools across the county, as well as reaching out to all of our existing customers, to share our safety guidelines as widely as possible.”
To support measures taken by Southeastern, the operator encourages all passengers to employ personal protective measures such as washing their hands before and after they travel and using sanitisation points available at key stations.
All detailed safety information can be found at the Southeastern back to school site www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/backtoschool, including details on exclusions from the face mask policy, how to access contactless ticketing and a breakdown of the timetable change that will take place on 7th September.