Transportation

If schools are allowed to reopen in the fall, we may be asked to employ strategies that are intended to limit or eliminate the transmission of the virus. In school transportation, this may mean that fewer students are able to ride; students will be required to wear masks; and parents may be asked if they can transport their children to and from school.

How will mitigation strategies be implemented for transportation?

School bus drivers and monitors are observed before each run. As an additional protection for transportation staff and students, a member or members of the transportation staff will serve as a screener. The screener will be asked to be available at the entrance of the bus garage at a designated time each school day to take a scan temperature and ask each driver if they are experiencing any symptoms of infection or if they have been exposed to anyone who is infected or displaying symptoms. This information will be noted daily. If a driver is sick, or has been exposed to someone that is positive with the virus, they should stay home. If a driver is found to have a fever or displays other COVID symptoms, they will be sent home and asked to contact their medical provider. The screener shall inform the transportation dispatcher who will communicate with the Superintendent.

Screeners will be asked to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) which may include a mask, face shield and gloves.

School bus drivers will be required to wear PPE including a mask and/or face shield or gloves.

All students riding school transportation will be required to wear a mask. A mask can be provided if necessary. Transportation will not be denied to any child with a disability or documented medical condition who cannot wear a mask. Social distancing limits the number of students that can ride.

  • Students from the same household will be required to sit together.
    During favorable weather, windows should be allowed to be down to promote air exchange.
  • Students must sit in assigned seats as assigned by the bus driver.
  • Students riding the school bus will be socially distanced whenever possible
  • Students will be required to wear a mask while on the school bus.
  • Attendance will be taken for purposes of contact tracing.

Pickup and dropoff times will vary as it will likely require multiple buses or multiple bus runs to pick up  all of the children who require transportation.

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What role can parents play to support school transportation?

Parents will play a critical role in the transportation solution. Parents will be asked to complete and submit a form to indicate their transportation needs and to indicate their understanding and acceptance of screening requirements and safety requirements. Parents also can help by instructing their children on the proper way to wear a mask and safely distance from others.

Since fewer students will be able to ride the bus, parents who can transport their children to and from school will be encouraged to do so. School communications will clearly identify drop off and pick up times and locations for each building.

Parents will be asked to keep sick children at home and to screen their child for symptoms of COVID-19 infection. Parents will be encouraged to take their children’s temperature each morning before boarding a school bus or traveling to school. If the child’s temperature is greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the child should stay home. Children who have symptoms such as a fever, cough, difficulty, breathing, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting or diarrhea must stay home. If a student has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus or who may have been exposed to someone who was infected should remain at home for 14 days. Testing negative would be required before returning to school with confirmation of a negative COVID test from a medical professional.  Importantly, if a student becomes symptomatic during the school day, parents will be asked to pick up their child and communicate with their doctor regarding the symptoms being displayed. It may be that children who become symptomatic are asked to be quarantined for 14 days.

What disinfecting/cleaning will have to occur on school transportation and how frequently will disinfecting/cleaning occur?

First, it is important to know the difference between cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing. According to the Center for Disease Control, cleaning removes dirt and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning can be accomplished with soap and water. Cleaning may not kill germs but it may reduce germs and the risk of spreading infection. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces. Disinfecting uses chemicals to clean dirty surfaces and remove germs. Finally, sanitizing lowers the number of germs by using water based chemicals.

Drivers will be expected to identify those seats that may be occupied on the bus. These seats must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with material known to eliminate the virus from all surfaces after each run. The driver will also be responsible to clean and disinfect all surfaces within the bus that are frequently touched by students as they board, ride and disembark from the bus (seat tops, rails, seat surfaces, windows, back and rear of seats).

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency registered disinfectants and sanitizers should be used to complete post run cleaning/sanitizing. Material safety data sheets should be consulted to assure the safe usage of all products. Product labels must be followed. Drivers should wear protective gloves and the bus should be well ventilated.

The Transportation Dispatcher and Director of Facilities will be responsible for training drivers on the cleaning/disinfecting strategies. Due to its combustible nature, hand sanitizer is not to be used or transported by school bus drivers, monitors or other school staff. Hand sanitizer will be available for staff use in the bus garage and other school buildings.

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How will parents be informed of bus pick up and drop off times?

Estimated pick up and drop off times will be shared with parents via letter. Parents may also obtain the information by calling the bus garage at 518-568-2014 x2105.

When can parents drop off and pick up their children?

Parents will be encouraged to drop off their children at specific times in the morning at the parent drop off loops or designated student drop off area at each school building. Similarly, parents will be encouraged to pick up their children at specific times each afternoon. If there is a change in your transportation plan, contact the school office by noon to inform the office of the change.

Will drivers be required to scan students and question students about potential exposure to the virus?

No, our communication plan will ask parents to keep sick children at home and to take their children’s temperature and observe for symptoms of the virus or exposure to the virus each morning before allowing their children to board school transportation.

How can we help parents and students understand what to expect on school buses?

Our communication plan must clearly identify expectations for parents and students who will be traveling to school by family vehicle or school transportation. Other efforts may be employed to introduce and orient parents and students to the procedures being used on school buses to assure the safety of students and school staff.

What about transportation changes?

Communication has always been a critical part of the parent-school relationship. When communication is timely and clear, expectations are understood and implemented. Due to the restrictions on transportation in regard to social distancing, specific routing, and limited seating capacity, daily changes in transportation will be strongly discouraged. Given the need for mitigation strategies on school transportation, parents must understand that pickup and dropoff times may vary. Students riding the school bus will be required to wear a mask.

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Mitigation Strategy

Physical Distancing

Transportation Plan Detail

  • Student ridership will be reduced -Students from the same family may sit together wearing masks.
  • When weather permits, bus windows should be open.
  • Parents who are able will be encouraged to drop off and pick up students.

Mitigation Strategy

Personal Protective Equipment PPE (Driver)

Transportation Plan Detail

  • Bus drivers are required to wear a mask and/or shield.
  • Gloves will also be available.

Mitigation Strategy

Personal Protective Equipment (Students)

Transportation Plan Detail

Mitigation Strategy

Hygiene, Cleaning and Disinfecting

Transportation Plan Detail

After each run, the bus driver will use appropriate cleaning supplies to disinfect seats and frequently touched areas on the bus. Areas shall include seats, tops, backs, stair rails, windows and window latches.

Mitigation Strategy

Communication

Transportation Plan Detail

Parents will be asked to complete a form indicating their transportation plan.

  • Bus garage will coordinate with district and school offices to share communications regarding use of masks, physical distancing, pick up and drop offs.
  • The School Messenger system may be used to inform parents when bus runs are going to be later than expected due to the increased number of runs required.
  • Unfortunately, bus changes are prohibited due to social distancing, specific routing, and limited seating capacity.

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