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Transportation planning and survey

Filed in Archive by on June 25, 2020

A message from Superintendent Jody Monroe:

Dear BC Families:

As we prepare for a likely return to school in the fall, we wanted to share information with you about health and safety measures on our school buses and get your feedback on school bus transportation. If a return to on-site instruction takes place in the fall, the procedures below reflect our efforts to maintain appropriate safety precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. They are based on current guidelines from the national Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the New York state Department of Health (DOH).

Please note that no decision regarding a return to school in the fall has been made by the district. That decision will be made with the guidance of state and local health officials.

The information and the parent survey that can be found below are for families that are eligible for bus transportation from the district. This information and survey are important for transportation planning purposes. All information, guidance and planning is subject to change. Please carefully read the information below and complete this brief transportation survey.

Bus Capacity

Current DOH guidance is that buses are not to be filled to more than 50% of capacity. For a large school bus, there could only be approximately 33 students assigned to a route. There are 22 three-passenger seats on a 66-passenger bus. Siblings would be assigned to sit two to a seat, and if possible, one student per seat in the remaining seats. Given the confined spaces on the buses, six feet of distance between students would not be possible in most situations. Therefore, face coverings would be required on the school bus.

Use of Face Coverings

Please note that under the current guidance, all students and staff would be required to wear a face covering while on the bus. The only exceptions would be in circumstances where a face covering is not possible due to an underlying medical condition of a student. Parents should be aware that if they send their child on the bus, there could be some students who are unable to use a face covering while traveling, despite this requirement.

Bus Ride

  • Siblings would be required to sit together.
  • Students would be required to sit in the same assigned seat every day.
  • To minimize additional student contact, students could only be transported to and from school and home and daycare (there would be no special arrangements such as going home instead of day care on a particular day or getting on the bus at a friend’s house, etc.) Similarly, schedules that vary by day (where a student gets dropped off or picked up at different locations during the week) would not be possible: students should be going to and from the same address, five days/week. Parent/guardian(s) would be responsible for transportation to and from other locations.
  • No sharing of toys or any personal items.

Sanitizing of Surfaces

Safety railings and seats will be sanitized twice a day, after the morning runs and again after the afternoon runs are done.

Parent/Guardian Responsibilities

To comply with the CDC guidance, parents/guardians would be asked to assess the health of the student every morning before  school. The district is working on self-assessment tools for families that could be used in the fall if a return to school takes place. The health of the broader school community can be protected with the cooperation of all families.

We recognize that even with these precautions, some families may prefer to transport their children in personal vehicles. In order to make the necessary logistical arrangements — from assigning students to bus routes to anticipating possible traffic congestion at schools — we are asking families to respond to this brief survey by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1, 2020.

The transportation survey can be found here.

This information will be used to help us develop routes for a return to school in September, given the current health and safety guidelines. Having a sense of whether you plan to use school transportation in the fall would greatly assist us in creating the bus routes that we routinely release to all families in August.

Your responses to the survey are not binding and any transportation decisions you make for your child can be changed. If your situation changes at any time during the school year, even if you have declined bus transportation in the fall,  you may still obtain transportation services later in the year. If you have any transportation questions, please contact Cindy Jurewicz, Director of Transportation at cjurewicz@bethlehemschools.org.  If you have any other questions, please contact me at jmonroe@bethlehemschools.org.

Thank you for your help with our planning.

Sincerely,

Jody Monroe

Superintendent