TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - As East Texas students prepare to go back to school, the ride to school will also be changing. The state issued COVID-19 recommendations for school transportation -- we spoke to different districts to see how they’re implementing TEA’s guidelines. Chapel Hill, Pine Tree, and Tyler school districts have hand sanitizer pumps at the entrance to their buses and seating arrangements have been adjusted to decrease contact.
Jack Irvin, Director of Safety, Security and Transportation at Pine Tree ISD says, “drivers will load the bus from the back to the front that way we can minimize the amount of kids in the aisle.”
For these districts, face coverings are mandatory for everyone riding the bus. Mark Dahlgren, Head of Transportation for Chapel Hill ISD tells us, “all students have to wear masks the entire time they’re on the bus.”
Irvin reminds students there will be backups available, but “the kids are encouraged to bring one from home. We’re gonna have some disposable masks on board the bus for kids that may forget, but it’s part of the practice.”
In between routes, bus drivers are going to disinfect germ hot spots like seats and handrails and deep cleaning is being stepped up to multiple times a day. John Bagert, the Director of Transportation with Tyler ISD says, “minimum every bus will be disinfected with the fogging machines twice a day, some as frequently as eight times a day depending upon how many routes and how many students they’ll be transporting.”
These districts ask that parents play a part in keeping school buses safe for riders. You can do so by taking your students’ temperatures and screening for symptoms before leaving the house. Some districts are encouraging parents to drop their students off at school if possible. With many students switching to online learning they aren’t anticipating as many bus riders but these protocols are in place to keep students and staff who do need the bus, safe.