Board outlines bus protocol

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By Carolyn Roy, Carolyn@natchitochestimes.com

At a committee meeting Tuesday, the school board heard the plan for the way it will deal with COVID-19 and students riding buses when school starts Aug. 31. Students in third grade and higher will wear masks. All students can access hand sanitizer from a dispenser placed near the driver who will wear a mask and gloves.

Natchitoches Wood

During Phase II, the buses can have 50% capacity. The drivers will have rosters that list students and their assigned seats. Family members can sit together but other students will observe social distancing. Airflow will be enhanced by windows being cracked; one by the driver, one in the middle and one in the back of the bus will be down. There are devices on the outside of the windows to prevent dripping during inclement weather.

Students will load from back to front and unload from front to back. They will not be scanned for temperatures on the buses since that will be done when they arrive at school. Students will be encouraged to avoid grouping at bus stops.

Eloi said the La. Dept. of Education (LDOE) made the decision to not scan students entering the bus because there would be no one to take them home should they have Covid-19 symptoms.

At the end of each day, buses will be disinfected, particularly in high touch areas. “If we have done everything we can, we can minimize the spread of Covid-19,” Eloi said

ECCO Ride, the transportation company that provides buses, has a new terminal manager, Alfred Matthews III, who started work Monday, Aug. 3. Matthews is a third generation transportation provider and has been a monitor, driver, owner operator and safety manager. He relocated from New Orleans where he managed 150 routes for nine charter schools. “I’m ready to get the kids to and from school safely,” Matthews told board members.