FIRST details about how travelling to school in September will work have been released by transport bosses.

WYCA (West Yorkshire Combined Authority) has been working on plans to ensure local travel options ‘support a safe return to education’.

But the organisation, in a briefing note to councillors, warns that it will be ‘applying Government guidance in an environment where there is uncertainty on funding’ and will therefore have ‘limited scope to adapt’.

Under the Government guidelines no social distancing will be needed on dedicated school bus services and there will also be no requirement for children to be transported in class or year ‘bubbles’.

The WYCA anticipates difficulties in other areas, however, including catering for those pupils who use regular bus services, which are subject to social distancing constraints, to get to school.

Its briefing note says: “Social distancing has limited the capacity of these bus services to less than 50 per cent and the addition of pupils and students will lead to overcrowding of certain journeys.

“We are seeking to establish where this may be a problem and will commission additional buses where this is necessary.

“We will communicate these arrangements through schools and on our website.”

It also warns that there may be a delay in finalising transport arrangements for getting children to and from swimming pools - and that on secondary school bus services ‘all children will be required to wear a face covering unless exempted for medical or other reasons’.

The statement concludes: “At this point in any other year we would be advising pupils and parents of transport arrangement in September before the schools break up for summer. This will not be possible this year.

“We have extended the deadline for applications for school bus passes until July 31 and will communicate arrangements directly with parents and schools for services that have a bus pass system.

“We will also provide information on the Combined Authority’s website,”

Councillor Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) said: “These are uncertain times and it is important that there is a balance between safety and young people’s right to access education.

“I am pleased WYCA has begun to plan for the start of the school year and hopefully a safe return can be arranged. I am, however, disappointed that though the Government has announced a number of guidelines about how the school return may work they have not agreed to cover the extra costs that WYCA will incur.

“This may mean that some services will be unaffordable leading to a further erosion of the bus network.”