Columbia County transportation department plans for back to school safety

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Columbia County, GA (WJBF)- Students in Columbia County go back to school on August 3rd and many will be riding the bus.

This school year is going to look a lot different than it has in the past and that includes riding the bus. NewsChannel 6 got an inside look at the measures they are taking to keep children safe and following guidelines.

School bus drivers are always thinking about safety when it comes to their young passengers. This year they also have to consider their students’ health.

“As soon as school is out for the school year, in May, we start preparing , redesigning routes, whatever we need to do. Adjusting for projected enrollment, new students coming in. So we spend our entire summer doing that,” said Shirley Doolittle, Assistant Director Columbia County Transportation Department.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, buses will be thoroughly cleaned several times a day.

Allen Connor is the Director of CC Transportation Department. He said they are taking every necessary precaution to keep children and drivers safe and healthy.

“All of our buses will go through a sanitizing cleaning station after the end of each route. So when the kids get off the bus the bus driver will pull the bus up, secure the bus, get out of the bus then a school representative will board the bus and we have purchased foggers which are misting machines. I’ve seen it done, they will get on the bus and start in the back and go to the front and it only takes two minutes and it dries instantly,” Connor said.

The number of bus riders is expected to be much lower this year, because many students will be learning virtually. Those low numbers can help in the effort to keep students safe.

“We’ll be working with lower numbers so that we can have students seated social distance on the bus. We’re asking they come on the bus wearing a mask. Our drivers will wear masks or shields,” explains Doolittle.

Sibling groups will be allowed to sit three to a seat, while other students can sit two to a seat. They can also expect assigned seating. In spite of the pandemic, Doolittle said they are looking forward to the new school year.

“We are ready to get kids back to school! We’re Excited about it. We’ve got a great team of drivers, folks who are highly trained professionals,” Doolittle said.

The director of the Columbia County Transportation Department said that these precautions begin as soon as school starts.

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