Herkimer Central School District will conduct transportation activities that are consistent with state-issued public transit guidance and NYSED School Reopening guidelines. Students and school staff must wear acceptable face coverings at all times on school buses (e.g., entering, exiting, and seated) and should maintain appropriate social distancing to the extent practicable.
Students who are able will be required to wear masks and social distance on the bus to the extent practicable; however, students whose physical or mental health would be impaired are not required to wear a face covering, but must be appropriately socially distanced. Members of the same household may be seated within 6 feet of each other. Parents and legal guardians are encouraged to drop off or walk students to school to reduce density on buses.
All buses that are used every day by districts and contract carriers will be cleaned/ disinfected once a day. High contact spots will be wiped down after each morning (AM) and afternoon (PM) run depending upon the disinfection schedule.
School buses shall not be equipped with hand sanitizer due to its combustible composition and potential liability to the carrier or district. School bus drivers, monitors and attendants must not carry personal bottles of hand sanitizer with them on school buses.
Wheelchair school buses will configure wheelchair placement to ensure social distancing of 6 feet.
Whether school is in session remotely or otherwise, pupil transportation will be provided to nonpublic, parochial, private, charter schools or students whose Individualized Education Plans have placed them out of the district whose schools are meeting in in-person sessions.
All students are entitled to transportation by the district to the extent required by law. Transportation departments do not have the ability or the right to deny transportation for children who are in foster care, homeless or attend private or charter schools. Parents who may have missed the due date to request out of district transportation due to a reasonable excuse may file a 310 appeal with the Commissioner of Education.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
Refer to the cleaning standard operating procedures guidance for further information.
- Buses and other transportation vehicles will be cleaned and disinfected daily (focus on high touch areas) and in between runs if scheduled for multiple routes. At the end of the day clean and disinfect the entire bus
- Daily Cleaning
- All trash removed
- Floors swept and dust mopped
- Walls and windows cleaned
- High Touch Surfaces
- Bus seats and seat backs
- Seat belts
- Door handles, handrails
- Driver operator area
- Cleaning and disinfecting products approved by the EPA will be used according to instructions
- Eating and drinking will be prohibited on the bus
- Buses will be inspected to ensure cleaning/disinfecting protocols are followed on district-owned and -contracted buses
- All cleanings/inspections will be documented (via trackable log)
Bus protocols for a reported case of COVID-19 on a school bus
Transportation Coordinator will be notified, the district will then notify building administration and a plan will be implemented to contact parents of students on that bus as determined by the Department of Health.
Bus will be taken out of service for 24 hours before the bus can be used again after a report of COVID-19. Bus will be disinfected following CDC guidelines.
Students on Transportation
- As was outlined in the Health and Safety section of this guidance, all parents/guardians will be required to ensure their child/children are not experiencing any signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and do not have a fever of 100 degrees or more prior to them boarding their method of transportation to school;
- Students must wear a mask on a school bus if they are physically able. Students who are unable to medically tolerate a face covering, including students where such covering would impair their physical health or mental health are not subject to the required use of a face covering;
- Students must social distance (six (6) feet separation) on the bus;
- Students who do not have a mask can NOT be denied transportation;
- Students who do not have masks must be provided one by the district;
- Students with a disability which would prevent them from wearing a mask will not be compelled to do so or denied transportation.
Training (Office Personnel, Drivers, Mechanics, Aides)
- Hazard Communication/Right-To-Know (annual)
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Exposure Control/Bloodborne Pathogen (BBP)
- COVID Awareness
- New cleaning Protocols (buses, transportation center)
- Face Covering (sizing, use, wear & care)
- Personal Health and Hygiene
- Special working conditions with face coverings (strenuous activity)
Required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Disposable gloves (if applicable)
- Face Covering/Mask
- Face Shield (if applicable)
- Herkimer Central School District will emphasize to parents and students prior to reopening schools that the District has thoroughly disinfected all buses and student transportation vehicles
- Herkimer Central School District will communicate with parents and students that student transportation vehicles are included in the district’s COVID-19 plans and what part students and parents will play in ensuring safety and minimizing infection while utilizing District transportation services
- Advise parents not to send their children to school or board the bus if sick or with an elevated temperature
- Survey parents regarding transportation including an “opt-out” option
- Remind students/parents/guardians that social distancing requirements extend to the bus stop
Density Reduction, Social Distancing, Bus Capacity
- As a density reduction strategy, students will be seated one student per row, all students wearing masks. (Source: National council on school facilities and cooperative strategies).
- This results in approximately 22 students on a 66-passenger bus
- Allow siblings or those that live in the same household to sit together
- Do not seat students directly behind the driver
- Students shall wear face masks (if required) while in transit when social distancing is not possible
- The Herkimer Central School District will develop multiple routing scenarios for administration to analyze different instructional scheduling options
- Split sessions
- Alternating days
- Hybrid schedules – some grade levels in person learning at school buildings, other grade levels virtual remote learning
- Limit rotation of substitute drivers and aides if possible
- Limit student movement between bus routes
- Discontinue allowing students to ride different buses on different days of the week
- When possible, mirror AM and PM routes, so bus riders are the same group each day.
- Changes to a student’s pick up, drop off location or to be added to a bus run will require a minimum of one week’s notice.
Loading/Unloading and Pickup/Drop-off
- Students shall be loaded in sequential route order. First student on the bus sits in the back, when going to school, last student off sits in the back when going home from school
- Dismissal times may be staggered to best suit building needs and to promote social distancing
- Adjustments will be made by buildings:
- For unloading and entry, and loading and departure
- Route timing which will be affected by delayed loading/unloading processes
- Arrival and departure activities shall be supervised to ensure social distancing
Transporting to BOCES
Herkimer Central School District will be transporting students to BOCES and will follow similar protocols as previously described.
Upon request, schools may need to supply the log of passengers in addition to cleaning logs in the event BOCES must assist in contact tracing due to exposures either at the BOCES buildings, or during transportation.