Working to Ensure Children’s Safety
Like the rest of the nation, the school bus industry is working to ensure the safety of children during COVID-19. Several initiatives are currently underway.
Industry Creates STARTS To Seek Solutions and Communicate
Student Transportation Aligned for Return to School, or STARTS Task Force, is a collaboration among the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation (NASDPTS), the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) and manufacturers to research, review, and report on matters relating to COVID-19 and student transportation. STARTS, which is being funded by ASBC, will develop a set of resources for student transportation professionals and their stakeholders that can be used in the design and development of school opening plans and the development of sustainable operational support in a time of COVID-19.
The task force is divided up into three subcommittees: Health and Safety (Students and Employees); Communications, Advocacy, and Public Relations; and Scheduling, Routing, and School Buses. The task force will deliver its final report and resources in early July 2020.
The task force is confident that the data and information provided to transportation professionals in both the school district-operated and contractor community will allow them to be active participants in their state and local working groups addressing return to school issues. The task force knows that education starts with transportation and wants to prepare school districts across the nation for the challenges of school start and operations in 2020-21.
STARTS TASK FORCE PAGE: https://www.napt.org/starts
Contact the STARTS Task Force
Be sure to bookmark this page for more updates as information becomes available.
Still Serving and Contributing to Communities
Throughout the COVID crisis, the yellow school bus has been engaged in a variety of activities and services to assist and support local efforts. School buses have been integral partners in programs that:
- Provide meals to children who otherwise would have received meals in their schools
- Bring lesson plans and materials to children who are unable to use the internet
- Bring computer technology to children in need of such equipment to do their school work
- Station school buses in rural areas to serve as WiFi hotspots for children who cannot otherwise access the internet to do their school studies
Working with Local Health Departments
The federal response is relying heavily on state and local health departments for implementation and emergency actions (school closures, travel restrictions, etc). School transportation professionals are working with local health officials and school health officials to ensure they are ‘in the loop’ on such efforts and that school transportation factors are being considered in such plans.
General COVID Guidance
Just a quick reminder about the basic guidance about precautions to take in relation to the COVID-19 virus. This particular list was taken from the website of the National Association of School Nurses but is also consistent with the CDC lists:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
The council’s members, which include: National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS), National School Transportation Association (NSTA), Blue Bird Corp. of Fort Valley, Ga., IC Bus Corporation of Lisle, Ill., and Thomas Built Buses of High Point, N.C. are all dedicated to assisting with safety during COVID. Please be sure to check out these links:
Reach Out: The American School Bus Council appreciates your interest and wants to hear from you. Please email us with any questions, thoughts, or suggestions at email@example.com, or sign up for updates.