Health guidance for social distancing updated in April, 2021 to allow 3 feet versus the original 3 foot measure

The district will conduct transportation activities that are consistent with state-issued public transit guidance and NYSED School Reopening guidelines. Students and school staff must wear acceptable face coverings at all times on school buses (e.g., entering, exiting, and seated) and should maintain appropriate social distancing to the extent practicable. 

Students who are able will be required to wear masks and social distance on the bus to the extent practicable; however, students whose physical or mental health would be impaired are not required to wear a face covering, but must be appropriately socially distanced. Members of the same household may be seated within 3 feet of each other. Parents and legal guardians are encouraged to drop off or walk students to school to reduce density on buses.

All buses that are used every day by districts and contract carriers will be cleaned/ disinfected frequently. High contact spots will be wiped down after the morning (AM) and afternoon (PM) run depending upon the disinfection schedule. 

School buses shall not be equipped with liquid hand sanitizer due to its combustible composition and potential liability to the carrier or district. School bus drivers, monitors and attendants must not carry personal bottles of hand sanitizer with them on school buses. 

Wheelchair school buses will configure wheelchair placement to ensure social distancing of 3 feet.

Whether school is in session remotely or otherwise, pupil transportation will be provided to nonpublic, parochial, private, charter schools or students whose Individualized Education Plans have placed them out of district whose schools are meeting in in-person sessions.

All students are entitled to transportation by the district to the extent required by law and school district policy. Transportation departments do not have the ability or the right to deny transportation for children who are in foster care, homeless or attend private or charter schools. Parents who may have missed the due date to request out of district transportation due to a reasonable excuse may file a 310 appeal with the Commissioner of Education.

School Bus Staff

  • School bus drivers, monitors, attendants and mechanics are required to perform a self-health assessment for symptoms of COVID-19 before arriving to work. If personnel are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, they will notify their employer as per the reporting policies and seek medical attention. 
  • School bus drivers, monitors, attendants and mechanics must wear a face covering along with an optional face shield. No bandanas or gator masks are allowed.
  • Transportation staff (drivers, monitors, attendants, mechanics and cleaners) will be trained and provided periodic refreshers on the proper use of personal protective equipment and the signs and symptoms of COVID-19. 
  • Transportation departments/carriers will need to provide Personal Protective Equipment such as masks and gloves for drivers, monitors and attendants in buses as well as hand sanitizer for all staff in their transportation locations such as dispatch offices, employee lunch/break rooms and/or bus garages. 
  • Drivers and monitors who must have physical contact with students must wear gloves
  • A daily log of students riding each bus must be kept. This will allow for contact tracing purposes if necessitated.

Other protocols governing transportation activities under COVID-19 school reopening include:

  • Parents and guardians are encouraged to transport or walk students to school to reduce overloading on buses.
  • Students riding the bus should be 3 feet apart unless siblings can ride together – if going to same school (secondary and elementary).
  • Practice social distancing 3 feet apart at the bus stops – face coverings should be worn. No bandanas or gator masks are allowed.
  • When loading a bus, back seats should be filled first; unloading goes from front to back.
  • Students should wear a face covering while entering, exiting and seated on the bus; excluding students who are unable medically including: physical, intellectual, developmental disabilities are exempt.
  • If a student refuses to wear a mask and can’t (won’t) social distance; the student will be removed from the bus. (By SED guidance, students who do not have a mask, CANNOT be denied transportation. Protocols on addressing this issue will need to be written – discuss with parents to request that their child wears, etc.).
  • If student refuses, the driver will have to place them in a socially distant seat.
  • Buses will be disinfected after morning and afternoon runs. High touch areas will be wiped down between runs during the day.  A supply of disinfectant wipes will be on hand for the drivers and aides to wipe down high touch points after children disembark the bus. 
  • Seats will be marked (masking tape) to show student seating to ensure adequate social distance protocols or the drivers will assign seats.
  • If the outside temperature is in excess of 44 degrees, buses will be operated with roof hatches and some windows partially opened to help provide air flow to the bus. 
  • Parent surveys/screening form should be completed prior to student getting on the bus and collected on daily basis indicating that temperature was taken and falls within the proper threshold.
  • Executive order 202.18 does indicate that riders must wear face coverings throughout their entire journey regardless of physical distance; provided, however that riders are over the age of two and medically able to tolerate such face coverings.
  • Face masks will be available on buses should a student not have one when entering the bus.
  • Signs on bus and letters sent home to parents that students should not board buses if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Determine adequate 3 foot distancing at bus stops. Encourage parents to monitor their children (if possible)  to ensure proper distancing until bus arrives.
  • District will consider the use of add and delete clauses to configure our routing needs depending upon school scheduling, staggering start times and virtual learning days. GASD will need to review submitting addendums to the Pupil Transportation Department when the increased routing requires an increased cost in our transportation contracts.
  • Use of other avenues of transportation – parent contacts, piggybacking, etc.
  • Transportation staff will be encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water before and after AM and PM runs to keep healthy and prevent the spread of respiratory and diarrheal infections from one person to the next.

Germs can spread from other people or surfaces when you:

  • touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • touch a contaminated surface or objects
  • blow your nose, cough, or sneeze into hands and then touch other people’s hands or common objects