BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – School officials say social distancing on school buses is working and bus operations are running smoothly this year in Berkeley County.
“As Mr. Terri always says… safety, safety, safety,” said Patrick Hernandez, who drives a bus for Westview schools. He says safety is – and always has been – their top priority.
He reached out to News 2 to say things were running smoothly so far this semester.
“I love these children. I get on that bus every day, the children come on — we even train the children; if I were to fall over with a heart attack they know to grab the yellow button and pop it and the bus will come to a complete stop. It’s always about safety.”
Fewer kids are using the buses than usual because of the pandemic. Normally, they have more than 20,000 kids that are being transported.
“We’re currently transporting about 7,200 students on about 137 buses,” said BCSD spokeswoman Katie Tanner.
That number is increasing, though, as more parents are choosing to send their kids to traditional in-classroom learning.
Hernandez says drivers worked with administrators to group students by neighborhoods in order to get more students home quicker.
“All the kids get on; we get out the door and before you know it, they’re home. Whereas last year we had so many children and a shortage of buses,” said Hernandez.
There are a lot of precautions that are being taken because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Every day, after the runs are done, we have to sanitize the stainless steel, the tops of the seats, all the way through.”
There are regular deep cleanings at night.
“Parents, your kids are cared for, they’re safe, and the driver cares about you,” he said.
If you’re having any issues with your child’s school bus, you’re asked to contact the school bus office in your area.