Four Big Challenges School Bus Drivers Face
published on December 31, 2020 by Sonia Mastros
Being a bus driver is never easy, but the job has become particularly difficult with the COVID-19 coronavirus still threatening the country. On top of their other responsibilities, bus drivers are now expected to do much of the heavy lifting in protecting students' health while onboard their buses.
Is your district doing everything they can to support your drivers? Better policies and updated school bus driver training can make their lives easier while increasing safety for the students.
Four Major Challenges Your School Bus Drivers Face During the Coronavirus
1. Cleaning and Disinfecting
As long as the virus is active, buses will need to be cleaned and disinfected after every run. This is a tedious and annoying job, and your district can help a lot by investing in better cleaning products. You might even consider installing add-ons such as foggers or automatic sprayers which will automatically disinfect the bus without requiring your driver to hand-wipe every surface. This will make the cleaning more thorough and reduce the burden on your driver.
2. Enforcing Mask-Wearing
Every relevant expert agrees: Masks are one of the primary ways we can slow the spread of disease, and every student on a bus needs to be wearing one. Always make sure there are supplies of masks available on each bus so that a student can grab a fresh mask when needed.
More importantly: Be willing to step up and defend your driver if they get into conflict with parents. Unfortunately, some people still think mask-wearing is a political issue and may object to mask requirements. Such false beliefs cannot be allowed to endanger the students, and drivers need to know that the administration stands behind them.
3. Keeping Students Properly Distanced
Maintaining perfect social distancing isn't really possible on a bus, but the next best thing is to only have one child per seat. Do what you can to encourage parents to either keep their kids home - if that's an option - or else drive them to school to make more room on the bus. Additionally, consider sending minders along on every bus route to help enforce seating arrangements.
Some additional school bus driver training can help reinforce lessons on how to keep students in their seats.
4. Protecting the Driver
Don't forget the importance of protecting your drivers! At the least, they should have all the masks and hand sanitizer they need. You might also consider installing plexiglass partitions around the driver's seat, to help shield them from viruses floating around in the bus's air supply.
Has your district come up with any innovative ways to support your drivers or improved school bus driver training lessons? Please share your tips in the comments!