BEAVERTON, OR (KPTV) - As more children head back to the classroom, transportation is vital in getting them there, and things look quite different on the school bus this year.
As with everything in the age of the pandemic, safety is the top priority for buses. Drivers will play a critical role in trying to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The changes will come before kids even get on the bus, as students will be required to be registered with the district before they’re ever allowed to get on.
“So that we know exactly who’s on our buses at all times and this will help us with contact tracing and stuff like that,” said Rusty Bingham, the operations supervisor for the Beaverton School District.
Beaverton will see students returning to the classroom for in-person education on Monday. Bingham says all their students will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms as they board the bus.
“They’re checking just signs, visually, of every student as they get on the bus,” he said.
The front of the bus will be designated for anyone who may have symptoms, like a cough.
Students will also have to social distance at bus stops and take turns getting on the bus. The district says drivers can expect each bus stop to take longer in the mornings.
“We’re asking for that separation, to take your time getting on the bus,” said Bingham.
Kids will fill the bus from the back to the front and windows will be down during the entire ride.
“This will help air circulation within the bus. Fresh air coming in and out all the time, that we’ve found will be our biggest deterrent,” said Bingham.
He adds that parents should prepare their kids for chillier morning rides, even on nice warm days.
Once children arrive at school, anyone with symptoms at the front of the bus will get off first. Those children will either be quarantined at the school, or a parent will be there waiting to pick them up. The rest of the children will then get off.
After kids are dropped off, bus drivers clean high touch areas before taking the buses back to be completely disinfected.
Bingham says it’s a lot of changes, but worth it to get kids back in class.
“I’m just excited to get back to some normalcy and have kids back to school. Very exciting,” he said.