PSD's Transportation Services COVID-19 Measures
From the Alberta 2020-21 School Re-Entry Plan
Children and students across the province travel to and from school through a combination of walking, being driven by their parents/guardians, public transportation and school bus services provided by school authorities. Travel/transportation of children and students must follow public health measures in place. Detailed planning is underway and more information will follow.
Scenario 1: Return to In-person Classes with Additional Safety Protocols
School authorities determine transportation service levels, ensuring that all children and students legally entitled to transportation are transported in accordance with the resumption plan for the school authority. A full complement of drivers will likely be required for school authorities that are resuming classes. School authorities should adjust routing accordingly. School authorities should discuss transportation plans early in cases of Education Services Agreements with First Nations.
School authorities must also consider additional safety measures to minimize the risk of exposure to the driver, children and students. Considerations include that a protective physical divider may be considered for the driver; fixed seating plans should be implemented to assist contact tracing, students from the same family should sit together, and, when possible maintain physical distancing between students; and additional resources and supplies will be required to sanitize the bus after every route.
Scenario 2: in-school classes partially resume (with additional health measures)
School authorities determine transportation service levels, ensuring that all children and students legally entitled to transportation are transported in accordance with the resumption plan for the school authority. A full complement of drivers will likely be required for school authorities that are resuming classes, even if children or students are attending on a modified schedule (alternate days). School authorities should adjust routing accordingly. Boards should discuss transportation plans early in cases of Education Services Agreements with First Nations.
School authorities must also consider additional safety measures to minimize the risk of exposure to the driver, children and students. Considerations include that a protective physical divider may be considered for the driver; seating plans must be implemented to assist contact tracing, students from the same family should sit together and maintain physical distancing between children and students; and additional resources and supplies will be required to sanitize the bus after every route.
Alberta Education is collaborating with Alberta Transportation and Alberta Health to ensure challenges raised by school authorities are considered.
Parkland School Division’s Regional Response
Parents are encouraged to review and consider all provincial and local measures in order to make an informed decision when deciding on Transportation for their child(ren). The final decision on whether to access the service is entirely parents discretion. These strategies include:
- Students from the same house will be seated together where possible.
- Students will have assigned seating and the seating plan will be based on the order of pick up in the mornings. (First pickups seated at the rear of the bus and continue forward to avoid students walking past each other regardless of grades age)
- Seating plans will be MANDATORY and strictly enforced by all drivers in order to facilitate contact tracing should there be a student that contracts COVID-19. No deviations are allowed.
- If possible, the seat behind the driver will be kept empty.
- Items such as IPads, IPhone and books along with other electronic items should not be shared with other students.
- All waste items (e.g. Kleenex etc) should be kept with the student and disposed of at home or at the school and should not be discarded on the bus.
- All riders must scan their RFID bus pass to electronically record their attendance on the bus.
Personal Protective Equipment
- As per the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s recommendation on mask-wearing – All Alberta students in grades four (4) to grade Twelve (12) will be required to wear masks on ALL school buses. Parents with child(ren) in grades Kindergarten (K) to Three (3) are strongly encouraged to have their child(ren) wear a mask on the school bus due to the difficultly of maintaining physical distancing of two (2) metres at all times. Physical distancing of 2 metres will not be possible on our buses.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be required by all drivers. This will include masks, and may include gloves or a face shield. Any PPE in use cannot interfere with the safe operation of the school bus.
Enhanced Cleaning & Hygiene
- Enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfecting including a cleaning log to be kept on the bus. High touch surface areas will be cleaned several times a day and regular deep cleaning will occur when students are not present.
- Good hand hygiene is expected for both drivers and students, this may include wearing of gloves and use of hand sanitizer products.
- No food or drinks will be allowed to be consumed on the bus journey regardless of the duration of the trip.
- Strict stay at home policy for any students or staff exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. (even if symptoms resemble a mild cold)
- If a child becomes symptomatic during the bus trip, the driver will contact Transportation dispatch to make the appropriate arrangements to have the child/student met. If possible the parent will be contacted to meet the bus at a point on the bus route to take their child(ren). If the parent cannot meet the bus at a point on the route, the child(ren) will be transported to the school and isolated until a parent can pick them up. If a child(ren) gets sick on the way home again the parent will be contacted to try and meet the bus at a point on the route, if this is not possible the driver where possible will try to isolate the child/ student to avoid any contact with other students until arriving home. The students will be instructed to stay home and use the COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to determine whether you need to be tested for COVID-19.
- Parent should have a contingency plan for their child(ren) should they exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms before the school bus pickup time. Child(ren) should not be placed on the school bus if they are sick or feeling sick due to the possible spread of the infection.
- No guest riders will be permitted on any PSD buses. Only designated registered riders for their transfer and home buses, with a valid bus pass, will be allowed to board the buses.
- Transfer sites will have a directional flow that all student will be required to follow to maximize social distancing.
- Additional staff members will be added to all transfer sites to assist children/ students navigate the areas and to avoid crowding where possible.
- Buses will have a wipe down of high touch area after the transfer students have vacated the bus. This will be completed before new transfer students are permitted to enter the bus
- Schools should develop procedures for student loading, unloading and transfers that support physical distancing of 2 metres between all persons (except household members), when possible.
- Masks will be mandatory for all Grades 4 – 12 students even outside at the Transfer Sites. Mask use for kindergarten to grade 3 students will continue to be optional.
There is no guarantee that physical distancing will happen on any of the PSD school buses, parents should consider this when choosing to place their child(ren) on the school bus.
Parents should note that due to the COVID-19 situation, transportation routes may be cancelled on short notice due to driver / staff sickness. We will endeavor to keep parents updated but strongly encourage you to monitor the PSD website, Transportation page, “Bus Status” for the most up to date information.
For a printable version of PSD's transportation measures:
Busing for Scenario 2 is being examined and details will be shared once more information in Parkland School Division’s overall Re-Entry Plan is available.
For further information, contact:
Parkland School Division