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Sep 15
District taking measures to keep students safe while on our buses

Bus exterior.jpgGetting students to school safely has always been a priority, and with the return to class, the Surrey School District is taking greater measures to ensure safety during the pandemic.

To continue protecting students from COVID-19, the district has enacted a number of protocols that are consistent with provincial guidelines to ensure physical distancing among students and effective cleaning and disinfecting on buses.

“Regular cleaning of the buses has always been a priority for us, but now we’ll be using a disinfectant spray on high-touch surfaces after every run,” said Greg Forbes-King, Director of Facilities & Transportation Services at the district. “We also have an electrostatic sprayer on site to clean and disinfect surfaces. Once a day, the buses will be disinfected as well.”

Following every run, drivers will wipe down high-touch surfaces on buses with disinfectant, including seats and seatbacks, handrails and the driver’s area. After all students have been dropped off at school in the morning, the buses will undergo a full hour of cleaning with the electrostatic sprayer, which sprays an electrostatic disinfect to kill bacteria on surfaces. Staff will fill out a daily sign-off sheet to record cleanings.

The number of students taking the bus has also decreased this year, largely due to limits on ridership eligibility based on walking distance from school. While the district has previously allowed “courtesy riders” (paying students who live outside the 4 km elementary or 4.8 km secondary walk zone) to ride the bus, ridership has been restricted to eligible riders.

“We’ve had to limit ridership to eligible students only so that’s a huge change for us. We’re restricting who can get on the bus so that we can maintain sufficient space between students,” said Forbes-King.

Students will have assigned seats on the bus, with the goal of one student per seat. Students will board the bus, filling seats from the back of the bus to the front. If seat sharing is needed, students will be paired with siblings first and members of their cohort second.

Students sitting at the front of the bus will exit first, with students exiting row by row while maintaining physical distance. As mandated by the Provincial Health Officer, secondary students will be required to wear masks on buses.

For more information on the district’s transportation program, please visit the department’s homepage.

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