HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — The Hillsborough County School District says drivers have been doing dry runs of their routes this week as they prepare for the first day of school.
They say all kids must sanitize their hands when they get on the bus, and drivers will be opening windows for improved airflow.
“Our drivers are going to be required to wear face masks. Our students are going to be required to wear face masks when they are transported on the bus,” said Jim Beekman, the General Manager of Transportation for the Hillsborough County School District.
If a child doesn’t have a mask, the driver will give them a disposable one before they get on.
Drivers will also sanitize high touch surfaces and seats throughout the day plus they will use a sanitizer mister twice a day.
“At the conclusion of their morning run, when they park their buses, we have a mister that they will be going in between all the seats and everything else,” Beekman said.
Kids will also load the bus from the back to the front. Plus, they will be assigned a seat.
“Our protocol is to leave the seat behind the driver open,” Beekman said.
Even though the district only expects about 50% of students, which is roughly 42,000 kids to ride the bus, they will be following normal routes from previous years for the first few weeks so they don’t miss any kids.
“When you look at a one-parent household that has multiple kids and they have to work, we are their lifeline,” said Beekman.
And even with fewer kids, a lack of bus drivers continues to be an issue which is why, “We are hiring we are hiring, we are hiring!” Beekman said enthusiastically.
You can apply on the district's website.