School bus safety during the COVID-19 Crisis

Changes to bus routes, pick up and drop off
Published: Sep. 1, 2020 at 6:32 AM CDT
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MILTON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Milton School District has made some changes to the way students get to school.

The district and contracted bus company Go Riteway Transportation have come up with a plan they say is the safest option for kids during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an interview with NBC15 Investigates, Milton’s Supt. Rich Dahman said students will load the bus from the back of the vehicle to the front, and then conversely, unload from the front to the back. Each student is assigned a seat based on where they live and when they will arrive at each stop during pick up and drop off.

Here's what it will look like when students get on and off the bus this fall
Here's what it will look like when students get on and off the bus this fall(wmtv elise romas)

“Our school district is very spread out we’re about 100 sq. miles, so we cover a lot of ground to get students to school and back home and part of doing that safely isn’t just providing safe transportation, but it’s also about lower the risk of transmission of the virus,” Dahman said.

Only family members or members of the same household can sit together on the same seat, but every row will contain a student.

The bus routes have also changed. Go Riteway has added four buses and ten new routes to accommodate for social distancing.

“We are also working with the bus company to make sure it’s wiped down between routes and then another thorough cleaning at the end of the day, to start the day again the next day,” Dahman said.

Milton’s communications director reports that there are roughly about 20% fewer kids riding the bus than last year.

Things will be obviously different to kids before they even walk through the door of the building. When students arrive, they will notice smaller classroom sizes. Dahman said 4K-6th graders are limited to 12-15 students per teacher. Seven through 12th graders are split into two groups and will switch off learning in person and online every day. Dahman said this solves the issue of not having enough space to properly follow health guidelines to physically distance.

“Families were able to choose if they were virtual or not and 20% of our families chose for their students to go fully virtual at the start of the school year,” Dahman said.

Whenever students are inside the school building, they are required to wear a mask.

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