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Safety measures in place to protect students on buses

Steve-Kearney-Pinellas-County-Schools-bus-driver
Posted at 4:56 AM, Jul 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 08:05:04-04

Nervous about sending your child to school on the bus? We're looking at the policies county-by-county:

Hillsborough County Public Schools

According to the Hillsborough County Schools Reopening Plan, students should try to social distance at the bus stop if it’s possible. One the bus arrives, students will load from back to front. Students are encouraged to use the hand sanitizer stations on each bus when they get on and off.

School officials, along with the bus driver, will come up with seating charts to keep students spaced out as much as possible. The seat immediately behind the driver will be open. Students are required to wear face coverings on board. Bus drivers will have disposable masks to give out if a student doesn’t have one.

The reopening plan goes on to say that ventilation will be incorporated into the bus along with air conditioning systems. And, the district will clean buses twice a day. The CDC recommends cleaning buses once a day.

Pinellas County Schools

According to the Pinellas County Schools Reopening Plan, masks/face coverings must be worn by all students and employees on the bus because social distancing may not be possible at all times. Buses will load from back to front and unload from front to back to limit students walking past each other. Hand sanitizer will be available on each bus near the front.

Additionally, the plan says drivers will wipe down or spray handrails, seats and windows between each run. And, windows on buses will be lowered two or three inches, if the weather allows, for greater circulation.

Pasco County Schools

According to the Pasco County Schools Guide for Reopening, students are expected to wear a face covering and following seating directions from bus staff. However, Stephen Hegarty, Pasco County Schools Public Information Officer, says social distancing can’t be guaranteed.

“We will encourage siblings to sit together and for students from the same bus stop to sit near each other. That way there is social distancing by groups that are already in contact with each other. However, we don’t want to suggest that students will be spread out in classic social distancing. That will be difficult, if not impossible, on a school bus.”

Hegarty says there will be hand sanitizer stations on each bus and there will be a supply of masks, but students are expected to bring their own.

Polk County Public Schools

Before the bus drivers begin their routes in Polk County, they are required to take their temperature and record it. If their temperature is 100 degrees or higher, school officials say they will wait 15 minutes and take it again. If they get the same reading, they are instructed to contact their supervisor.

Students will board the bus from the rear to the front and will be required to wear masks, unless they have a waiver from a healthcare provider. Bus drivers will have extra masks on hand. No more than two students are allowed per seat. Buses will have ventilation with windows down and roof hatches up, weather permitting.