Teen with Down’s syndrome forced into 66-mile daily college trip due to Covid-19

A family who have shielded for 180 days to protect their Down's syndrome son have been forced into 66-mile daily college trip due to the pandemic, it has been reported.

Matthew Lawrence, 17, has Down's syndrome and is at risk of pneumonia which could create health problems if he then caught coronavirus.

His mum, Sandy Lawrence, claims he now faces hours of travel on a minibus from Newquay to Truro with no possibility of social distancing to attend Truro College, ITV News reports.

Sandy says the university and the council haven't offered her "any other option" than to drive the 66-mile daily trip herself to protect her son.

She said: "My child should be able to go into a vehicle where there are less young people in that vehicle – say three, an escort and a driver in a nine-seater vehicle – so they could sit apart from one another and that those young people could be in the same bubble as they are in college.

"That's what's happening for mainstream children and young people and it's very hard for us parents of children with SEN (Special Educational Needs) and additional needs to understand why that's not happening for our children and young people."

Sandy now claims she faces up to three hours of travelling to take Matthew back and forth from home to college.

He studies at Newquay's Truro College and says she has been offered "no alternative" than for her to driver him to keep him safe.

She said: "I have been offered no alternative than for me to drive him in to keep him safe.''

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In a statement, Cornwall Council, which co-ordinates school transport, said: ''Parents can be assured that transport for SEND students has been arranged in accordance with the most up-to-date Government guidance.

"Should parents of SEND children have particular concerns about the transport provided, then consideration will be given to providing a fuel allowance so that they can provide the transport themselves.'"

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