PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- Until now, the primary focus regarding education during the pandemic, has been on how to open classrooms safely for in-person learning. But districts are also wrestling with how best to get those kids to and from school.
“We are opening for certain students who need a safe place to learn on August 17 so we will have that on-site online learning option available,” said Nicole Rodriguez, Director of Community Relations and Marketing for Madison School District.
The district is also providing student transportation. “Come Monday, since we only have about 500 students who are attending on site online learning, we're looking at about between 100 and 120 bus riders.”
The low numbers will make social distancing far easier, both on the bus and at bus stops. But other precautions are also in place to protect the health of students and staff.
“Madison School District has implemented universal masking for both employees and students,” said Rodriguez. Students will also be asked to use hand sanitizer as soon as they board and will be seated from the back forward to avoid passing one another. Buses will also be routinely cleaned. “We are using the Protexus Electrostatic Sprayer. It electrostatically charges disinfectant to cling to every surface. So, on the bus, it gets every little area and disinfects, and it will be used in between the morning and afternoon rounds and additional times as warranted,” said Rodriguez.
These have been challenging times for bus drivers too with no students to transport since March. “Absolutely our bus drivers aare amazing,” said Rodriguez. “They are the first friendly face that student see in the morning.”
And the district has gone to great lengths to keep those drivers working during this time, supporting students in other ways, serving food and supervising students. This is critical because bus drivers can be hard to come by and eventually each and every one will be needed back behind the wheel.