New CDC recommendations include seating one student every other row in school buses, increased cleaning and disinfecting of buses and drivers wearing cloth masks. File photo

New CDC recommendations include seating one student every other row in school buses, increased cleaning and disinfecting of buses and drivers wearing cloth masks. File photo

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidance on how to determine whether to reopen schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic and recommended safety practices, including on school buses.

The guidance, which was updated on the agency’s website on Tuesday, includes a decision tree designed to help school officials decide whether to reopen. It addresses considerations such as whether schools are prepared to:

  • Be consistent with state and local orders.
  • Screen students and employees on arrival for COVID-19 symptoms and history of exposure. Communicate and monitor developments with local authorities, employees, and families regarding cases and exposure.
  • Put more health and safety practices in place such as frequent hand washing, employees wearing cloth masks, and intensifying cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation.
  • Encourage social distancing.
  • Train employees on the practices mentioned above.

Additionally, the CDC recommends in its updated safety practices for schools and the school environment measures applicable to school buses:

  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces on school buses at least daily or between uses as much as possible.
  • Drivers following the same practices that the CDC recommends to bus transit operators.
  • Drivers wearing cloth masks and practicing frequent hand washing.
  • Increasing distance between students on the bus by seating one student per row in every other row of seats when possible. (See modified layouts section.)

The CDC also recommends staggering arrival and drop-off times and establishing procedures to “limit contact between cohorts and direct contact with parents as much as possible.”

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