Bus Rides During a Pandemic
Policy Number and Last Update (03.03.01a/07-01-2020) SUBPART F-Transportation §1303.72 (e) §1303.73(a) (b) §1303.74
Programs should check state and local health department notices daily about COVID 19 transmission and mitigation levels in the area and adjust operations accordingly. As community conditions continue to change, some programs may need to adjust their program operations and services. Based on local data and guidance or directives, programs should be prepared to stagger routes, reduce bus runs, or end bus runs temporarily. Programs should engage staff and families when making changes to transportation policies.
Cleaning and Sanitizing Procedures:
Before Bus and staff leaves center:
The bus must be cleaned and disinfected each day that it is used. Ventilation of the bus while cleaning and disinfecting is essential; open the doors and some windows.
Car Seat Cleaning
Exposed surfaces on car seats should be cleaned and disinfected after each day of use.
Generally, the guidance is to:
- Sponge clean using warm water and mild soap.
- Towel dry
- Do not use abrasive cleaners
End of bus runs for the day:
Cleaning: Exposed, high-touch surfaces (bus seats, railing, windows, steering wheel, etc.) on the bus should be sprayed with soapy water and then wiped down. Remove all trash from the bus. Sweep and wet mop the bus floor.
Disinfecting: After cleaning, spray exposed, high-touch surfaces (bus seats, railing, windows, steering wheel, etc.) on the bus with Bleach Solution #1, ensuring a contact time of at least 2 minutes. Ensure that all areas are dry before ever loading children onto the bus. Staff must wear goggles or face shields while spraying the bleach solution.
Procedures for Loading and Unloading Children:
Prior to picking up children at the first pick-up point, Bus Monitors will screen each other, as well as the Bus Driver. All items used to complete the COVID-19 screening process will need to be secured while the bus is in motion. Bus Monitors will wash their hands using hand sanitizer.
- A visual assessment of the child for signs of illness which could include:
- Flushed cheeks.
- Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing (without recent physical activity).
- Fatigue; and/or
- Extreme Fussiness.
- Conduct a health check of all children and staff before they board the vehicle. Do not transport individuals with a fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or above or who show other signs of illness.
- If the assessment shows signs of illness OR the temperature is above 100.4°, the child WILL NOT BE ALLOWED to enter the bus and will be returned to the parent/guardian.
- Position children as far apart as possible, with one child per bench.
- When assigning seats on the bus, the children should be seated by classroom whenever possible. In all situations where it is possible, allow ample spacing (about six feet or two bus seat lengths) between classrooms on the bus.
- When loading children at pick-up points, load the children by classroom, being intentional to avoid direct contact with other children (from different classrooms) who are already seated on the bus.
- When unloading children at the center, unload by classroom, starting with the classroom that is at the front of the bus and work towards the back.
- When loading children onto the bus at the center, load classrooms that are seated at the back of the bus first and work towards the front
- When unloading children at drop-off points, unload children by classroom, being intentional to avoid direct contact with other children (from different classrooms) who are seated on the bus.
- If children are coming from the same home, they may sit together.
- Minimize contact between vehicle operators and other staff, if possible, ensure children sit 6 feet away from the vehicle operator.
- Use visible cues, such as stickers on the floors, to guide children and offer gentle prompts to help them understand the new protocols.
- All Bus Drivers and Bus Monitors will be required to wear a face mask, if using face shields a face mask must also be worn.
- Plan bus routes to minimize traffic stops and allow time for safely conducting health checks.
All completed screening forms should be given to the Health Staff upon arriving at the center.