• 64°

Bus Driver Inservice event covers COVID-19 protocols

Bus drivers donning masks attended the Carter County Bus Driver Inservice on Tuesday morning.
Tracy McAbee, director of schools, took an opportunity to show gratitude for drivers as the meeting began.
“I’m your biggest fan,” he said. “I appreciate all you do.”
The meeting then consisted of information regarding the safety of drivers and new protocols being put in place due to COVID-19. Various speakers discussed these topics.
Beth Bare, the coordinator of school health, stressed the importance of wearing masks, washing hands, and following social distancing guidelines.
Bare elaborated on scenarios in which students are sick or a driver should become sick. These recommendations included notifying proper personnel and isolation.
Wayne Sams, transportation manager, covered the manual and covered larger protocols in place for the virus.
Among the protocols include an electrostatic spray that serves as a disinfectant for buses.
Drivers are asked that every morning after dropping students off, they come to the garage or disinfect at the school using this spray, which dries in 10 minutes and aids in combating the virus. This is a neutral substance that is no less harmful than previous cleaners to individuals.
“I want to do everything I can to keep you safe,” explained Sams.
Bus drivers were additionally informed that their drop-off times at schools will now be 15 minutes later. Along with scheduling and adjusting, not everything has been figured out.
A common theme in the meeting was the aspect of things always changing in the midst of the pandemic.
Sams explained that the ultimate goal is to keep both students and the drivers as safe as possible.
For the first two weeks of school, 25 percent of students will attend school one designated day each week. For bus drivers, they will go their usual route and pick up students based on who is at their stop.
Upon picking up students, masks are asked to be worn, however, should a child come onto the bus without one, the driver will offer the child one. In the criteria of seating, Sams said there is a goal to have no one sit behind the driver.
In addition to plans in place for school resuming, there are also plans in place for a virtual switch.
“If we go virtual after the first two weeks, the Transportation Department will turn into a food service delivering meals,” he said. “I support it 100 percent.”
This meal-delivery service will consist of bus drivers going to schools to pick up meals and a helper to go along their usual bus routes and give out food to all the children they would usually pick up. These children or their caregivers are asked to wait outside the stop.