During the COVID-19 pandemic, CDC guidelines limit seating on our buses to one student per seat, with the exception that household members may sit together. This reduces the capacity of our buses by more than 50% and places a significant strain on our ability to pick up and deliver all students in a timely manner each day.
As we look to reopen schools next week in a “hybrid” mode, with approximately half of the students attending school each day, we are confident that we will be able to provide school bus transportation to students who require it. We have back-up buses and drivers ready to complete routes on which buses have reached their capacity, and although the timing of each run may vary from our stated plan, we will be able to deliver students to and from school in an efficient manner.
The concern increases exponentially as we strive for a full reopening of schools, with 100% of our students attending each day (on October 5 at the earliest). In this scenario, transportation is the most significant limiting factor we are facing. To assist with the timely start of the school day, we are encouraging families to seek alternative methods for delivering their child to school. Ideas for alternative transportation include:
- Carpooling (with masks and 3’ distancing between passengers)
- Walking school bus or bicycle train – in which neighbors collaborate to supervise groups of students as they walk/ride to school (read about organizing one in your neighborhood here).
Please note that as they enter the bus in the morning, students will be provided with hand sanitizer and will fill the seats from the rear of the bus forward. As much as possible, they will sit in the same seats in the afternoon, so that the bus is emptied in reverse order. We know this won’t be an exact science, but each step we can take to minimize close contact between students will be a step toward preventing the spread of COVID-19.
We have posted the 2020-2021 bus routes and times on our district website. Please note that these times will vary greatly the first week or so of school, especially for younger children, as we help them transition to our new protocols. Parents can be helpful by saying their “goodbyes” before the bus arrives, and avoiding conversations with our drivers beyond saying, “Thank you!” or “Have a great day!” – so our drivers can move onto the next stop and deliver students on time (or close to it).
Thank you for your assistance in this critical component of our reopening plan.