COVID prompts changes to Rabun school bus procedures

  • Megan Broome/The Clayton Tribune.
    Megan Broome/The Clayton Tribune.

TIGER--The coronavirus pandemic has reshaped how daily tasks and processes are completed, and with Rabun County Schools back in session, precautions have been implemented on school buses to ensure the safety of children.

“We have limited the number of students who we’re allowed to have on each bus,” said Marty Dixon, transportation director, about state-mandated COVID-19 guidelines. 

Because of this, three buses had to be added to the fleet for a total of 34 school buses, he explained. 

This means that there are a total of 34 school bus routes and Dixon said that there are typically 1,000 students who ride the school bus. 

Dixon said that everyone on the bus is required to wear a mask and hand sanitizing dispensers have been installed on each bus. 

“We’re requiring students to wear masks on the bus,” Dixon said. He said that this is because social distancing cannot be done easily on a bus. Bus drivers must wear masks as well. 

Each bus driver assigns students to a particular seat and keeps a daily seating chart. 

“That way if there’s ever an exposure, we know exactly where those children were sitting,” said Scott Crane, school safety coordinator. 

Dixon said that per guidelines, only 48 students are allowed on these 72-passenger buses. This is about two students to a seat. 

If students live in the same household, we try to seat them together, Dixon explained. 

“For the most part, everyone seems to be doing good,” Dixon said about how students were cooperating with the changes and how smoothly the system was going. 

Dixon said that the school buses go through a rigorous cleaning process twice a day. 

“They go through a disinfecting process after every morning and every afternoon route,” Dixon said. The buses are brought to the shop to be disinfected and two people inspect the buses every morning and every afternoon. 

Dixon advised that students should not bring their own disinfectant because the school system already has certain supplies it is using to sanitize the facilities. 

When students go on field trips, the same seating arrangements and limited number of students on the buses will be implemented. 

Crane said that unloading school buses looks differently also. 

He said that all students are required to get their temperatures checked while getting off the bus before going into the school. And temperatures have to be checked for every child.

Students are also required to wear masks. 

"It’s gone excellent,” Crane said about how the students have cooperated with the new procedures. "It’s gone very, very well.”