Schools figuring out how to best approach bus safety amid the coronavirus pandemic

Katherine Scott Image
Monday, August 24, 2020
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Busing to school will have a much different look during the pandemic

WOODBURY HEIGHTS, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Distancing and disinfecting are both key elements when it comes to reopening plans for schools.

That goes for both buildings and school buses.

At Gateway Regional High School in Woodbury Heights, New Jersey, all students, whether they ride buses or not, are required to conduct daily pre-screenings at home.

"They'll be doing temperature checks at home," according to the principal, Dr. Jeff Pierro.

Students are required to wear masks from the time they arrive to the bus stops.

The high school is beginning the year with both hybrid and fully remote options.

"We have X's marked where the students should not be sitting," Dr. Pierro explained, pointing to the seats.

He added, "Students will be seated six feet apart at all times, unless they are riding with a sibling."

Dr. Pierro said normally the buses can fit around 54 students. They plan to put around 22 students on each bus, without the need to add more buses.

"With the parents electing to drive students instead of coming on the bus, that has worked out the numbers. So the busing numbers are relatively going to stay the same for us," he explained.

During all bus runs, the windows will be open to increase ventilation.

The seat behind the bus driver will remain empty, and that is also where cleaning products are stowed.

"They'll load on the bus back to front, and when they exit the bus, they will also be exiting front to back to make sure we are promoting that social distancing," Dr. Pierro continued.

Drivers have received special training and will be cleaning and disinfecting buses between runs.