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Polk County Schools says social distancing on school buses is impossible

Students required to wear masks on buses
Posted at 3:56 PM, Jul 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-29 10:08:47-04

BARTOW, Fla. — Polk County Schools’ transportation department says social distancing on a school bus is impossible.

According to the Center for Disease Control guidelines, it’s recommended students ride only one person per seat in every other row.

But, Rob Davis, Polk County Schools’ transportation director, says it would take too long to get everyone to their destination.

“We did the math and that’s 13 students. It would take all day to get students to school and by the time we got them there it would be time to turn around and take them home,” Davis said.

Instead, Polk County Public Schools says it will be sitting two children in each seat in every row. They will be requiring riders to wear masks unless there’s a doctor’s note provided. The buses will also be deep cleaned multiple times a day.

RELATED: LIST: Tampa Bay area school districts taking extra precautions for students riding school buses

“Handrails, the tops of the seats, backs of the seats, sides of the seats as students are coming on and brushing those,” Davis added.

Training is already underway for drivers and attendants on how to properly sanitize and how to load students in the safest way possible.

Each riders' temperature will be taken and if it’s 100 degrees or higher that person will not ride.

“We want our parents to know we are making the arrangement anything we can do, any arrangements any protocol we have to do to keep our children safe on the bus,” Chrystal Robinson, a trainer for bus drivers said.

Ventilation will also play a role on the buses, with windows down and top hatches open when weather permits.

Students will be loaded from the back to the front and seated according to their stops.

“It’s easier in the morning so we have to work with the school hand-in-hand to make sure that the students get off last are in the rear of the bus and the students who get off first are in the front of the bus,” Davis said.

However, plans are not concrete. Polk County Public Schools reports just over half of students have responded about how they’ll attend class this year.

Without hard numbers, Rob Davis says it’s hard to plan accordingly.