The 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. All staff will wear acceptable face covering and socially distance from students.
The district has created a district routing request form for parents/guardians to tentatively request transportation needs or to acknowledge that they will not need transportation. If and when possible, families are encouraged to transport their household to accommodate routing needs. The parent letter and request form can be found here: Transportation Request Form
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 who are wearing a face mask are not required to do so, 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.
Students who do not have a facemask will be provided one by the bus driver upon arrival to the bus. If the student refuses to wear a mask, and is able, they will be considered insubordinate. If a parent is available at the stop, the child will be counseled and if still refuses, they will be remanded to the parent. The parent is then to contact building administration for follow up. If a student refuses and the parent is not at the stop, the child will be seated in the front of the bus 6 feet apart from other individuals. Upon entry into the building, the child will be brought to administration for counseling/reprimand.
It is imperative that students follow school bus protocol such as remaining in their assigned seat, not engaging in horseplay and following protocols in order to maintain the health and safety of everyone on the bus.
Students will load back to front, 1 student per seat or siblings together. Students will unload at school front to back. Families will be encouraged to transport students if possible. Bus loading and unloading on school property will be staggered to limit the amount of student interaction/crossing.
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/disinfected between the two morning and the two afternoon runs per building/cohort. The district will utilize COVID-19 cleaners approved through CDC.
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. The district is currently creating the routes for all nonpublic, parochial schools, private, charter schools or students whose Individualized Education Plans have placed them out of the district. The district is exploring shared transportation options with neighboring districts and working on methods to most efficiently transport students while adhering to guidelines.
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.
Deadlines for transportation requests have been extended. Families that have registered for transportation last school year were emailed and contacted by telephone to inquire about their transportation needs in June 2020.
There will be no bus passes allowed, student pick-up and drop-off will only be allowed at predetermined locations in order to better record keeping for contact tracing.
School Bus Staff
School bus drivers, monitors, attendants and mechanics are required to perform a self-health assessment for symptoms of COVID-19 before arriving at work. If personnel are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, they will notify their employer as per the reporting policies and seek medical attention. Staff are required to follow the district protocols in self temperature taking and completion of the safety questionnaire found here: https://entry.neric.org/vcsd
School bus drivers, monitors, attendants and mechanics must wear a face covering along with an optional face shield.
Transportation staff (drivers, monitors, attendants, mechanics and cleaners) will be trained and provided periodic refreshers on the proper use of personal protective equipment and the signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Staff have to complete a training on sanitation, mask usage and COVID prior to transporting students. For staff that have not completed the training, they will be trained at the annual transportation meeting scheduled for the end of August.
Transportation departments/carriers will need to provide Personal Protective Equipment such as masks and gloves for drivers, monitors and attendants in buses as well as hand sanitizer for all staff in their transportation locations such as dispatch offices, employee lunch/break rooms and/or bus garages.
Staff are supplied with appropriate PPE if they are not utilizing their personal cloth face covering. Hand sanitizer is available in locations within the transportation office/garage as well as locations to wash hands with soap.
Drivers, monitors/attendants who must have direct physical contact with a child must wear gloves in addition to face covering. Disposable gloves will be provided to Drivers/School Bus Monitors that are in direct contact with students.
Protocols for bus drivers, monitors and attendants include the following:
- Daily Submission of the COVID Screening Attestation
- The driver, monitor, and attendant may wear gloves if they choose to do so but are not required unless they must be in physical contact with students.
- Transportation staff should wash their hands with soap and water before and after am and pm runs to help prevent the spread of respiratory and diarrheal infections from one person to the next.
- Participation in training as available in order to have knowledge of the current guidance regarding reducing the spread of COVID-19.
Procedures for transportation of students:
- Bus roof hatches and windows will be open in order to provide increased air flow unless weather is inclement or below 45 degrees.
- Voorheesville Central School District does not typically utilize contract carriers. As routing issues are realized, we will consider the use of add/delete clauses if contractor transportation becomes necessary as well as submitting addendums to the Pupil Transportation Unit when increased costs are anticipated.
- Our transportation department is in discussion with neighboring districts to determine how best to utilize shared transportation opportunities in order to maintain the health and safety of our students and staff.
- School bus routing will accommodate 1 student/siblings per seat. Students will be encouraged to keep as much distance as possible between them. Guidance for families will be provided with instructions on how to make their wait at the bus stop and ride to and from school as safe as possible. Buses will have disposable masks available for students. Families will be encouraged to transport children in order to accommodate reduced busloads.
Protocols of how students will disembark from transportation vehicles:
- Parents/guardians are encouraged to walk or drive their child to school whenever possible.
- Student or their parent/guardians must submit the COVID Screening Attestation
- All Extra Trips and late buses are cancelled until further notice.
- Students will have assigned seats.
- Members of the same family will be seated together.
- Students will not be allowed to eat or share materials on the bus
- When students embark and disembark the bus, they should follow social distancing protocols. This will increase the time required to load and unload buses at schools in the morning and afternoon.
- The district is developing procedures for the reconfiguration of loading and unloading locations for students who are transported by bus, car or are pedestrians.
- Since hand sanitizer is not permitted on school buses, buildings will have hand sanitizer available upon arrival. This will include classroom teacher disbursement, sanitization pumps at high traffic areas. Building specific plans are under development. This section will be updated as procedures develop.
For more information about training protocol for students and staff and how transportation information will be communicated, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.