by Terry Rogers
Jon LoBiondo, Transportation Supervisor for Milford School District has spent the last few months working with contractors and bus drivers to develop strict protocols on district buses to protect children from COVID-19. LoBiondo stated that he expects these protocols to be in place for quite some time.
“We currently have no more than 23 children on a bus at one time and all of them are in assigned seats,” LoBiondo said. “I do not see the 23 maximum limit changing even when we begin seeing more students returning to in-person learning. Every district is routing differently, but we have one route that is driven regardless of the students riding that day. A bus may have 20 students but only half come in on Mondays and Tuesdays while the other half come in Thursdays and Fridays. Routes are generally the same length as last year.”
Masks are mandatory at the bus stop and on the bus, LoBiondo explained. Students who are not living in the same household should practice social distancing while at the bus stop. All students should arrive 10 minutes early at the stop.
As part of the COVID-19 protocols, seating charts are required so that if a child or staff member tests positive for the virus during the school year, closes contact can be determined. Most drivers use two seating charts, one for AM and one for PM routes. Children are seated one child per row with a row skipped between them. When possible, drivers load the bus back to front to allow for additional social distancing.
“High touch areas must be cleaned in-between runs,” LoBiondo said. “This includes the railing steps, seats and driver area. Deep cleaning is scheduled daily. All wheelchair and lift areas are cleaned after each use. All drivers and aides must wear facial coverings. Drivers can use a face shield to help children board and unboard in order to allow for better visibility. We have been very clear with drivers and contractors that these protocols must be adhered to each day and have had excellent cooperation from all of them.”
Superintendent Kevin Dickerson praised the bus contractors and drivers at a recent school board meeting, stating that they had gone above and beyond to make sure every child riding their bus was safe and had a great experience on the trips to and from school.
Bussing information can be found on Home Access or parents may call the school or transportation office as well.