COVID Student Safety Starts With School Buses
published on September 07, 2021 by Sonia Mastros
Is your district still doing everything possible to keep your school buses safe from COVID-19? Even though vaccination rates are rising, and infections are dropping, it's still a threat. Worse, new mutations like the Delta variant are creating new threats, and forms that transmit more easily than the original COVID-19.
It's vital to remain vigilant on school bus health and safety. This is particularly important if your school is looking to reopen for in-person classes in the summer or fall. With more kids on the bus, it will become even more important to keep the bus as safe as possible!
Be sure you're still following the basic best practices:
1. Require Masks
While parents may complain, masks are still the #1 best way to prevent disease transmission. Growing vaccination rates don't change this. In fact, the gap between vaccinated and non-vaccinated is going to encourage the development of new variations like Delta. You don't want the coronavirus finding ways to jump between students; that's how mutations happen.
2. Frequent Sterilization
The bus should still be cleaned, disinfected, and sterilized after every run. Be diligent in cleaning every surface that is likely to have been touched. This includes doors, seat surfaces, and windows.
It may even be worth installing automated sterilization systems this summer. Disinfectant sprayers, or high-powered UV treatment, can provide better overall sanitation while greatly reducing the workload on your drivers and other support staff.
3. Keep the Driver Isolated
Using plexiglass or a similar solution to create a separate 'cockpit' for the driver is a very good idea since that will protect the driver from most diseases that kids may carry. Honestly, even after COVID-19 ceases to be a threat, it may be a good idea to keep using these barriers. This will likely reduce sick days among drivers overall, and that's important when the driver shortage is ongoing.
4. Keep Plenty of Medical Supplies On-Hand
Every bus should be outfitted with plenty of hand sanitizer, cleaning products, and masks for children who don't have a mask. Students should be encouraged to make use of these whenever possible, such as requiring a squirt\spray of hand sanitizer every time they get on or off the bus.
5. Enforce Social Distancing as Much as Possible
Don't load up the seats. Ideally, there should only be one student per seat, as long as infection is a threat. Although exceptions can be made for siblings or other students who cohabitate. Having kids sitting side-by-side will undo all other safety measures.
Things aren't going back to normal any time soon, even if in-person classes resume. How is your district handling safety and sanitation on your school buses? Please share your tips in the comments!