BACK TO SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION GUIDELINES FOR PARENTS
CLEANING OF VEHICLES
All service vehicles (i.e. frequently touched surfaces such as seat cushions, top of seats, handrail(s), seatbelts, and driver controls) will be cleaned with disinfectant prior to the start of each bus run. The type of disinfectant used will be in accordance with recommendations from Public Health.
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
Proper hand washing is the best practice for stopping the spread of the virus. Hand washing prior to and after each trip on the bus is recommended for everyone.
Parents should supply their child with a face covering if they are above Grade 3.
A supply of masks should be available on each bus for purposes such as a student may not have one or a parent is required to board the bus to help with a seatbelt.
It is recommended that all students and parents maintain a 2-meter physical distance while waiting at the bus stop. Students should be reminded to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds before they leave for the bus stop or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer just before boarding the bus. Students must follow the direction of the driver when boarding the bus.
Students who have symptoms associated with COVID-19 or think they have been exposed to COVID-19 will not be allowed to take transportation. Parents must screen their child for any symptoms prior to sending them to board the bus. If a child is displaying symptoms such as coughing, fever or other obvious signs of an illness, they will not be allowed to board the bus. The bus driver will inform the parent/guardian, if they are with the child, that the child cannot ride. If there is no parent/guardian, with the child, the driver will contact dispatch to advise the family that the child cannot be transported. If a child gets sick at school or exhibit symptoms they will not be transported on the bus after school.
LOADING OF STUDENTS
In consideration for load counts, to limit the physical contact between students, the number of students to be transported on a bus will be limited to one family per bench seat to a maximum of three to a seat. Single child families will be grouped together with classmates where possible.
All students will load from back to front when being picked up and unload from front to back when being dropped off. This will limit close contact between students on the bus. Students are encouraged to walk to their seat without touching seats as they pass as much as possible. Students must follow the instructions given to them from the bus driver and sit in the seat assigned to them. Students may not change seats at any time during the bus trip.
Seat assignments for students will be mandatory and must be followed by the driver and enforced by the Principal. Seat movement of students will not be permitted. Students are to sit 1 family per bench seat unless there are non-family from the same household or single students in the same class. The front two seats will remain empty and be used for emergency purposes only where possible.
Drivers will take a daily log of which students rode the bus for any trip. This is required to trace any possibility if a student contracts COVID-19 from riding the bus.
ITEMS ON A VEHICLE
Students cannot bring large items on the bus that would not ordinarily fit in a knapsack.
All waste containers are to be removed from the vehicle. Remember there is no food or drink permitted on a school bus.
Should the need arise that a driver is required to respond to a first aid situation, the driver should radio dispatch for clear direction and if required to attend to a student(s), the driver will park the vehicle in a safe location, turn the vehicle off, be certain to keep PPE on, and attend to the student(s). Call 911 if necessary.
In the case of major issues such as a student vomiting, bleeding, or showing symptoms of COVID-19, the driver will pull over and inform radio dispatch to send another bus. The parents/guardians of the student will be instructed to meet the bus to pick up the student in question. The driver will ensure they wear additional PPE such as eye protection, face shields and gloves if they must attend to the student. The bus will then be returned to the bus yard for a proper and thorough cleaning prior to being put back in service.
SPECIAL NEEDS TRANSPORTATION
Parents and school staff may need to board the vehicle to assist with the student’s seat belt/harness or car seat. They should always wear a mask and eye protection (shield) when boarding the vehicle. Upon boarding the vehicle, prior to touching anything, the parent will need to sanitize their hands. There will be sanitizer available on the vehicle. The driver should always remind them when boarding and deboarding to not touch anything except the seatbelt/harness (i.e. do not touch seats when going down the aisle of a bus).
For any further information please refer to Public Health Ontario (PDF).
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