Transportation experts begin thinking about how to transport students in the fall

State News

NEW YORK STATE (WSYR-TV) — As we move through the state’s reopening phases, the question still remains what the “new normal” will look like for education come September. 

While the struggle to find out how schools will stop the spread of COVID-19, the fight against the virus starts even before a student walks through the school doors: On their ride on the bus.

State transportation experts are looking into possibilities for a sanitary and socially distanced ride, considering things like staggered timing, rerouting, and plexiglass.

But none of that can be put in place until districts get guidance from the state and the CDC. If the current CDC considerations stay the same, it would mean a need for more buses, something not possible for most districts due to expense and staffing. 

“One student per bench seat, and skip a row between the next student and then put that student in the opposite row, so it reduces a 66 passenger bus to about six to seven students,” said David Christopher, Executive Director, New York Association for Pupil Transportation.

“We’re also dealing with a population of employees who are older. Drivers are usually retired. This is usually their second career, so they’re definitely more of the vulnerable population,” said Nicole Epstein, Spokeswoman, New York School Bus Contractors Association.

Some districts have begun proactively ordering disinfecting machines for the buses they currently have.

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