Student Transportation Services of Central Ontario (STSCO) has unveiled its health guidelines to transport students amid the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, Peterborough-based STSCO posted a list of guidelines and measures that will be in effect to transport more than 26,000 elementary and secondary students daily from more than 120 schools in three school boards.
STSCO serves the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board; the Peterborough Northumberland Victoria and Clarington School Board; and the Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir, a French Catholic board.
STSCO notes any students who have symptoms associated with COVID-19 or who 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,” STSCO said.
“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 exhibits symptoms, they will not be transported on the bus after school.”
STSCO says the following guidelines were developed in accordance with public health officials, taking into consideration physical distancing and other measures:
Vehicle cleaning: All frequently touched surfaces in vehicles will be cleaned with a disinfectant prior to the start of each bus run.
Personal protective equipment: Parents are asked to supply any child above Grade 3 with a face mask. A supply of face masks will be available on each bus if a student does not have one, or if a parent is required to board a bus to help a student with special needs seating. STSCO recommends hand washing prior to and after each bus trip.
- Seat assignments for students will be mandatory and will be enforced by the driver and school principal
- Seat exchanges will not be permitted at any time
- Daily logs will be taken for which students rode the bus for any trip to assist with any contact tracing if a COVID-19 case is found
“Students are to sit one family per bench seat unless there are non-family from the same household or single students in the same class,” STSCO said. “The front two seats will remain empty and be used for emergency purposes only where possible.
- The number of students 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
“Students are encouraged to walk to their seat without touching seats as they pass as much as possible,” STSCO said. “Students must follow the instructions given to them from the bus driver and sit in the seat assigned to them.”
It is recommended that all students and parents maintain a two-metre physical distance while waiting at the bus stop.
- 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.
- No open food or drinks are permitted on a bus.
Special needs transportation:
- Parents or staff who board a bus to assist with student’s seat belt/harness or car seat will be required to wear a mask or face shield
- Upon boarding, parents will need to sanitize their hands
In the event of a situation requiring first-aid, drivers will radio dispatch and if required, attend to students while keeping PPE on. Call 911 if necessary.
In the event a student is 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. STSCO says the bus will then be returned to the bus yard for a proper and thorough cleaning prior to being put back in service.
— More to come.
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