Primary schools in Westminster welcomed back many children in reception, Year 1 and Year 6 this morning. To help staff, parents and children make their way into school safely, 10 temporary ‘School Streets’ have been introduced as part of the Council’s overall ActiveStreets programme.
In response to COVID-19, Westminster City Council have worked with 10 schools to ban cars from surrounding areas at certain times of the day, to free congestion around the school and to ensure social distancing.
The measures will be put in place for up to an hour or hour-and-a-half in the morning and afternoon during the school drop-off/collection time, Monday to Friday and term-time only.
The restrictions on traffic around the schools will allow people to safely walk, cycle or scoot to school.
Signage and road barriers will be used to block off the traffic, whilst other signs will be displayed to encourage people to stand two metres apart.
Primary schools which haven’t introduced a ‘School Street’ are having a ‘Routes to School’ Assessment to see if any on-street provision is required and will be contacted.
Cllr Timothy Barnes, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said:
“School streets are an integral part of our plan to reopen Westminster in a safe way for our residents and teachers. This is one of a series of actions we are taking as we encourage the return of children to our schools. Blocking off some roads surrounding schools during drop-off and pick-up times will help do this effectively and safely.
“This means that children and their parents and guardians can minimise the risk of catching and spreading the virus while allowing our schools to open further in support of the education and wellbeing of our children.
“We will look to continue shielding children in schools from air pollution, and the implementation of more temporary school streets may well prove the best way to do this.”
Last year, St Mary’s Bryanston Square school in Marylebone became the first permanent ‘School Street’ in Westminster, to enhance road safety and provide opportunities for more children to travel safely to school.
The following 10 schools have introduced the temporary school streets, under the active streets programme, today: