Officials talk school bus safety ahead of reopening

NOW: Officials talk school bus safety ahead of reopening

GRANGER, Ind. - Schools are gearing up to open in less than a month and ABC57 is taking a deeper look into reopening plans in our new series called "The Learning Curve."

On Monday, we took a look at school bus safety.

We've heard a lot about how officials are making sure kids are safe in school but there are still a lot of questions surrounding the bus ride there.

“It’s unprecedented times," Jim Rhodes, a bus driver for Wawasee Community Schools said.

Rhodes has been a bus driver in Wawasee for 35 years and even this is new to him.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in all my years of driving," he said.

The Assistant Director of Transportation at Penn Harris Madison is confident they will keep their students safe.

“We’re gearing up like we would for any other year," Pam Skoglund said. "Students are going to load from the back of the bus to the front and will, in turn, get dismissed to school from the front of the bus to the back of the bus and it’s going to be staggered release so we don’t have kids crowding upon each other.”

Disinfection of the buses is a new normal for many school districts.

“We’re disinfecting buses daily after each route," Rhodes said.

However, one thing that won’t be happening is social distancing.

“I don’t believe any of the buses will be packed," Skoglund said. "Students who are in eLearning will be temporarily removed from the bus so it will bring the numbers down just simply because of those measures.”

And temperature checks before boarding, also not a thing.

“No, we are not doing temperature checks. The administration has indicated to parents and staff to self-monitor," she said.

Masks are required and if a student doesn’t have one, they will be provided.

Rhodes said he is worried about having to now monitor kids as well.

“Are we going to be the mask police and have our heads in the mirror, too see if kids are not wearing a mask or keep your head in the mirror and drive, that a catch 22," he said.

And he said there are questions still unanswered.

“If a student on your bus tests positive for COVID – do you quarantine the bus for 10 days? Are you out of a job for 10 days? There’s just a lot of unanswered questions.”

Officials say the buses have enough ventilation with windows and roof hatches open.

And bus routes at least for PHM are the same.

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