CHICAGO (CBS) — E-learning versus in person isn’t the only decision for parents and school districts to make for the upcoming school year. Some are still trying to map out a transportation option; no easy task amid a pandemic.
CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas found one local school district trying to put their plans in place.
Parents in Munster, Indiana, will have a decision to make this August: to bus or not to bus?
School Town of Munster financial operations director Bill Melby said the district plans to offer busing to students who choose in-person over e-learning.
“We recommend that parents drive their students to school, or walk to school. It’s a small town, but we’re gonna do everything in our power to make it as safe as possible if they do choose to ride the bus,” he said.
Melby said the district is expecting much fewer riders than last year, but they won’t have definite numbers until registration next month.
Based on a recent survey, Melby said he expects about 30 students per bus on buses that can seat about 70 people; so he plans on mapping out assigned seating, with the goal of keeping students distanced.
Students who live together would still sit next to each other.
“Our goal is to have, if you have two students here, we’re not gonna have anybody in front of them. We’re gonna move to the next seat over here, and so on,” Melby said.
The district also is adding custodians and more cleaning supplies, so they can disinfect the buses multiple times per day.
The school district said students will be required to wear masks not just while riding the bus, but also waiting for the bus in the morning and after school. How will they enforce that?
“We have a bus driver on there, and several of our buses have aides as well. So that’s something that they need to be checking on,” Melby said.
If a student does get COVID-19,Melby said the bus they rode on would be taken out of service and thoroughly cleaned. He said the assigned seating could also be helpful if contact tracing is needed.
The district said some routes also could be changed to spread students out evenly across buses, and drivers will have the option of having a shield.
Melby said, based on the district’s survey, about 1,100 students might be riding the bus this fall, compared to about 2,100 who rode last year.