GREECE, N.Y. (WROC) — On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that all schools across New York State will be reopening in the fall. Going back to school on the bus is going to look different for students once school reopen, and it all starts at the school bus stop.
Students are going to have to remain socially distant at the bus stop and wear an appropriate face covering.
Masks are required on all buses at all times. According to Greece Central School District Officials, it is a mandate for drivers, attendants and students to wear them. Drivers can also opt to wear a face shield and gloves. Officials say if a student forgets their mask, one will be provided by the driver. If they refuse, they will not be allowed to ride the bus.
GCSD officials said that bus capacity will be reduced by more than one half. That means one student per seat. Siblings can share a bus seat but otherwise, only one student per seat. Making it 22 total students on each bus.
“If students can’t follow that policy, they will be turned over to school administration. Parents may have to be looked at as an alternative. You need to provide transportation for your child because they can not follow these health and safety protocols,” said David Richardson, Executive Director for Student Operations.
As far as bus routes go, GCSD’s plan is to keep them as is. According to Richardson, the routes may have to be smaller and there may need to be more buses going out to do routes for individual schools. Richardson says students who opt out of needing bus transportation will also be a factor.
“As the numbers change our routes will change. so that’s really the bulk of our work over these next three weeks,” said Richardson.
Buses will be cleaned in three phases. Starting off with a daily clean after each route. Staff will wipe down high-touched surfaces including handrails and seat backs at least six times a day. Then weekly. A deeper clean, with an electrostatic fogging machine, will happen when there’s an extended weekend.
“We have an electrostatic sprayer that really deeply disinfects the buses, but that leaves a little bit of a chlorine smell to it. That only will be done before the breaks and extended weekend. There will be a deeper cleaning done then,” said Richardson.
Hand sanitizer cannot be used on the buses according to school officials. Students are permitted to have personal bottles of hand sanitizers at school, they cannot use them on the bus for safety reasons.
Bus passes arrive in homes the week of August 31st. September 21st, late bus runs are expected to begin.
Richardson says they’re in constant contact with other school district’s. There will be similarities among them.