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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. Parents/guardians will be encouraged to drive students to and from school, if able.
Students will be seated one to two per seat unless seated with members of the same household and must maintain social distance on the bus to the extent practicable. Members of the same household may be seated within six feet of each other. Seats will be marked showing students where to sit. Seats will be assigned. Weather-permitting, school buses will transport passengers with windows and roof hatches ajar to provide additional airflow. Wheelchair school buses will configure wheelchair placement to ensure social distancing of six feet.
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. School buildings will have staggered arrival and departure times to ensure social distancing.
Parents/guardians are encouraged to drop off or walk students to school to reduce density on buses.
Masks/Face Coverings on Buses
Gates Chili CSD buses will operate with heightened health and safety protocols, including requiring all students and staff to wear face coverings. If a student does not have a mask, the bus driver will provide one. No student will be denied transportation if they do not have a mask. Students with medical exemptions approved by the district that relieves them of the requirement to wear a face covering will be appropriately socially distanced.
Bus Cleaning Protocol
All buses that are used every day by the district and any contract carrier buses will be cleaned once a day. Bus seats and high contact spots will be sprayed down using disinfectant after every trip in the morning (AM) and afternoon (PM). This means that buses will be disinfected at least four (4) times per day. Assurance of cleaning will be maintained as part of the daily bus driver checklist.
Non-alcohol-based sanitizer will be available per the Department of Transportation. School buses shall not be equipped with alcohol-based 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 alcohol-based hand sanitizer with them on school buses.
Hand sanitizer dispensers will be placed at the main entrance for students and staff use upon entry into the building.
Mandatory Transportation Requirements
Whether school is in session remotely or otherwise, pupil transportation will be provided to non-public, parochial, private, charter schools. Additionally, transportation will be provided to students whose Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) have placed them out of district. 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/guardians 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.
Bus Run Schedules and Work Hours for Staff
There may be multiple morning and afternoon bus runs. Due to increased cleaning requirements and increased parent drop-off and pick-up, start and end times for all staff may shift anywhere from 15-30 minutes. The length of the workday will remain unchanged for building staff.
School Bus Staff
School bus drivers, monitors, attendants and mechanics are required perform a self-health assessment for symptoms of COVID-19 before arriving to work. If personnel are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, they will notify their employer as per the reporting protocols and seek medical attention.
School bus drivers, monitors, attendants and mechanics must wear a face covering along with an optional face shield when operating a school bus, unless medically unable to do so.
School Bus Staff: Personal Protective Protocol
Transportation departments/carriers will need to provide personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves for drivers, monitors and attendants on buses. Hand sanitizer will be provided for all staff in their transportation locations such as dispatch offices, employee lunch/break rooms and/or bus garages.
Transportation staff who must have direct physical contact with a child must wear gloves. Transportation staff may wear gloves if they choose to do so, but are not required unless they must be in physical contact with students.
Transportation staff will be encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water before and after morning and afternoon bus runs to prevent the spread of infection.
Transportation staff members (drivers, monitors, attendants, mechanics and cleaners) will receive training. Transportation staff will be trained and provided periodic refreshers on the proper use of personal protective equipment, social distancing and the signs and symptoms of COVID-19. 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.
The district will provide training for students and families in advance of the start of school. Additional training will be provided for every student during the required safety drills provided during the first week of school.