As schools prepare to reopen in some capacity in the fall a document released this morning by the state gives an idea of how transportation for students will look in the pandemic.

Children will be sat by themselves on separate bus benches, with an empty row between each and alternating sides.

The seating formation will reduce bus capacities to between 33 and 43 percent.

The guidance lists the following “core health and safety principles:”

  • Masks: All staff and students on the bus, regardless of age, are required to wear masks at all times. Exemptions for students due to medical and/or behavioral reasons – and associated protocols – are further described later in this guidance.
  • Distance: Students should be seated no more than one student per bench, alternating sides for each row, which allows students to maintain approximately 3 feet of physical distance. Children from the same household may sit together and in closer proximity (e.g., two students per bench). Diagrams are provided later in this guidance.
  • Ventilation: Keep windows open at all times during operation, unless not possible due to extreme weather conditions.
  • Seat assignments: Students should be assigned to a single bus and a particular seat.
  • Bus monitors: Districts should consider adding a bus monitor (e.g., volunteer, student leader, or staff member) for every bus to ensure strict adherence to these health and safety guidelines.

An important note from the document: “Please note that this guidance is being issued on July 22, 2020 and is subject to change depending on the COVID-19 trends and as we learn more about the virus from medical research.”

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