As the New York City Department of Education reopened some schools for in-person instruction last week and more begin onsite learning on Tuesday, school buses are hitting the road with some additional safety measures.
All elementary school students in the U.S.’s largest city are now able to return to campus, according to the Department of Education’s website. Middle school and high school students will resume in-person classes on Thursday.
Last week, the Department of Education began providing school bus service for preschools and District 75 schools. Catholic schools, private schools, and charter schools also started receiving bus service for in-person instruction, according to Staten Island Advance. The 1,400 routes for non-public schools are currently serving approximately 18,000 non-public school students, the news source reports.
Students being transported by school bus are required to wear masks and practice social distancing, and buses are limited to 25% capacity to enable social distancing, the agency’s website states. Students from the same household, however, may sit together, and nurses and paraprofessionals may sit with the students assigned to them. The bus’s seats will be clearly marked to show students where they can or cannot sit.
The Department of Education is also prioritizing home-to-school bus service due to the pandemic, and is not providing transportation for field trips or for after school programs (except in the case of students with approved specialized transportation plans), or on federal holidays.
Additional practices include keeping the bus windows open for extra ventilation and keeping the air system on the bus in the non-recirculating mode; cleaning and disinfecting all school buses following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-recommended cleaning and disinfection protocols every night; and having students exit school buses one row at a time to maintain social distancing.
With the city’s public schools now open, the Department of Education has its full fleet of 10,000 school buses running, according to Staten Island Advance.