Management

Webinar Offers Tips for Preparing to Resume Service Post-COVID

Nicole Schlosser
Posted on April 22, 2020
School Bus Fleet’s recent webinar, “Returning to Service Post-COVID: Are You Prepared?” is now available online. Photo courtesy Scott Goble
School Bus Fleet’s recent webinar, “Returning to Service Post-COVID: Are You Prepared?” is now available online. Photo courtesy Scott Goble

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacting pupil transportation, mainly due to school closures, many school district transportation departments have shifted to putting some buses into service to deliver meals, instructional materials, and Wi-Fi to students, trying to employ as many drivers and other staff members as possible.

Still, while working with a skeleton crew on diverted duties, how can pupil transporters plan for the upcoming school year, which is an activity many transportation departments would typically be engaging in at this time of year? And what will the beginning of the new school year look like? What potential changes should be planned for?

On Wednesday, School Bus Fleet hosted a webinar, “Returning to Service Post-COVID: Are You Prepared?” A panel of industry experts — Max Christensen, an executive officer for school transportation at the Iowa Department of Education; Derek Graham, a consultant and former state director of pupil transportation in North Carolina; Pam McDonald, director of transportation at Orange Unified School District in California; and Michael Shields, director of transportation services at Salem-Keizer Public Schools in Salem, Ore. — discussed ways to optimize time during school closures to get ahead on back-burner responsibilities that will still demand attention once schools reopen. Tasks addressed included getting routing, inspections, IEP requests, and testing up to date; scheduling tests during DMV closures, and forming plans for remote work in case it is still required this fall.

Panelists also provided insights on how to deal with protecting drivers, cleaning buses, factoring social distancing into routing plans, how driver shortage may be impacted by school closures, and the possibility of taking students’ temperatures as they board buses.

The webinar was sponsored by connectivity solution supplier Kajeet, school bus market supplier Safe Fleet, and school bus routing software supplier Transfinder.

To listen to the webinar on demand, go here.

Related Topics: CDL, COVID-19, driver recruitment/retention, driver shortage, driver training, IEP, routing, special needs

Nicole Schlosser Executive Editor
Comments ( 2 )
  • Carl

     | about 2 months ago

    Same exact thoughts as Mike below. The hazards are the same as we saw in NYC mass transit. Plus, even if the kids aren't very susceptible and the parents are willing to let them ride, many of our drivers are older and have diabetes, high blood pressure, etc, and we were already way short of drivers this past year, running ourselves ragged doubling back. Here in Florida most buses are air conditioned, and windows are up to avoid the intense heat of many months. We can put the windows down, but what about thunderstorms, which are plentiful?

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