State officials recommend COVID-19 safety guidelines for school buses

Local News

Charleston, S.C. (WCBD) – Before the pandemic, 40% of students took the school bus to and from school.

The AccelerateEd task force and the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) put together guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19 on school buses.

Those guidelines include:

  • Cleaning buses twice a day
  • Limiting occupancy to 50%
  • Increasing the number of buses in use
  • Decreasing the number of students sitting two to a seat

DHEC recommends increasing the number of buses used, and if that’s not possible to add more routes all to limit the number of students on one bus.

Alan Walter, AccelerateEd, and Board of Education Member laid out concerns with having one bus run more than two routes.

“In Georgetown, where I am, there are some rural areas where bus routes can run an hour or more. It may not be feasible to try to run two routes through there so you may have to adjust times,” said Walter.

Walter also addressed whether the state plans to pay for more buses.

“It would be a budgetary issue to get more buses and that’s why the possibility of running more routes would do it. Then you have to keep in mind trying to find more drivers if you have more buses,” commented Walter.

Officials recommend face masks should be provided and worn by bus drivers and students.

The State Department of Education has spent a little less than half a million dollars on 400,000 cloth masks to give to teachers and staff, including bus drivers.

That money came from the Cares Act.

Districts should also provide hand sanitizer to use before and after getting off and on the bus.

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