Bath County Schools tackle bus logistics

Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 6:21 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - As districts juggle back-to-school plans and hybrid learning schedules, a top priority has been figuring out exactly how students will get to class.

Bus drivers for Bath County Schools said they are ready to shift into gear and start riding their routes again.

Craig Harold has been behind the wheel for the school district for six years.

“Oh yeah, I run the same route every day, same kids,” Harold said.

But this year, that routine is going to look different because of COVID-19.

“Won’t have as many by far as I usually have, but the ones that are here we are going to try and bring them,” Harold said.

The school district has been working on these bus logistics for months.

“The transportation department is going to do everything possible to keep their children safe and our drivers safe,” Transportation Secretary Sharon Fry said.

Bath County drivers will open windows to keep the air flowing inside with students. They’ll clean the bus between routes, and do a deep clean every Friday. The students and the driver will be required to wear a mask on board and there will only be one student per seat unless they’re coming from the same home.

Each bus will only be able to hold about 40 students, but the district says this shouldn’t be a problem, thanks to the support of so many families.

“When there are tough times, or when there are problems, people generally rally,” Superintendent Sue Hirsh said.

181 families responded to a survey saying they would drive their kids to school, helping the district safely get students to and from class.

“We were thankful that parents stepped up and indicated that they could help,” Hirsh said.

Everyone from the superintendent to bus drivers like Harold know they’re going to have to be flexible this year.

“You’re just going to have to go day-by-day and figure it out,” Harold said.

But they’re eager to tackle this challenge and the school year head-on.

“I think we are ready. We’re ready to do this,” Fry said.

The first day back to school for Bath County students is August 26, with four days of in-person classes and one day of remote learning each week. Parents also have the option to select 100-percent virtual learning for their children when registering.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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