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Bus Protocols for Pandemic Year
November 4, 2020
Due to COVID-19, our buses have adopted new safety precautions this school year to reduce the spread of the disease.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) states on their website that they have attempted to limit the number of kids on each bus and sprayed seats with a 90-day lasting microbial coating. This coating is also used in places in Maryland like ambulances and police departments.
Transportation director Patricia Waltimyer said, “SESD buses are currently the only ones using antimicrobial spray coating to protect students against COVID.”
Bus driver Mary Cutler explains the process of sanitizing the bus. “We have to spray the seat down before every run and wear the masks; I think that’s about it.”
The rules regarding COVID-19 on the bus are quite simple: Wear a mask at all times, and if possible, try to sit siblings together.
The school continues to encourage students to be mindful of others’ space while on the bus. To reinforce the warning, the district ensures all students have assigned seats on the bus.
While the state gave some mandates regarding protection on the busses, others were left up to the districts.
“Ultimately, we were given ‘guidelines’ and each district had to come up with its own Health & Safety Plan which had to be approved by the Board of School Directors and then sent to the Governor,” Waltimyer said.
Like all school rules, if students do not follow them there are ramifications.
“If a student fails to follow these rules, a referral is put into Sapphire and sent to the appropriate building principal for completion,” Waltimyer said.
Students are still adjusting to some of the new protocols.
“I’m used to sitting with Beverly [her friend] everyday so that’s a little weird. And not being able to sit in the back and move up every day.”
In addition to the rules on the bus, the district encourages parents to screen their children before they get on the bus. This screening includes checking the child’s temperature and checking for other COVID-19 related symptoms.