MPS prioritizes the health and safety of all students, staff, and families while using student transportation services offered by the district. As such we would like to provide some useful information as it pertains to COVID-19 and our incorporation of best practices to mitigate risks associated with the pandemic.

School Bus Preparation and Disinfecting

yellow school bus
  • All buses and vehicles used to transport students will be thoroughly cleaned, disinfected and inspected prior to use with CDC, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and EPS recommended supplies
    • All commonly touched surfaces within the entry, passenger and driver’s areas of the bus or transport vehicle, including seat backs, handrails, and stability poles will be cleaned and disinfected between runs
    • A scheduled nightly deep cleaning/disinfecting that allows the disinfecting products to dry and fumes to dissipate.
  • An inventory will be present on each school bus consisting of:
    • Extra personal protective equipment (PPE); 
    • Government approved cleaning and disinfecting chemicals with instructions on their safe use; 
    • Other materials (eg cleaning towel/wipes) will be available.
  • Signs and messages will be posted in highly visible locations including:
    • Floor decals, colored tape, or laminated signs
    • Practices that assist in stopping the spread of COVID-19
    • Proper and required use of a cloth face covering and other protective measures necessary
    • Indicators specifying where students are not allowed to sit (seating barriers) to reinforce distancing
    • Appropriate behavior management – rider expectations and safety precautions
  • Ensure ventilation systems operate properly while students are on the bus and open windows to increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible.
  • Provide training to staff on proper safety and/or disinfection procedures for school buses, following CDC disinfection guidelines. The training will include:
    • Information about COVID-19, how it spreads, symptoms, risk of exposure; difference between allergies, regular sickness.
    • Proper methods for cleaning, disinfecting and material disposal.
    • How to properly fit, wear and dispose of the PPE they will be using (masks, gloves, clothing, etc.).
    • Safe product usage guidelines (chemical safety).
    • How to maintain proper physical distancing of riders.
    • Emergency pandemic response including COVID-19 positive identification, intervention and tracing.

Modifications to Transportation System

  • Reducing bus capacity according to public health guidelines, which are tentatively reduced to 50% capacity
  • Assigned seating for students on buses
  • Required mask wearing for driver and students. MPS will provide extra masks to support missing or lost student masks
  • New district school bell schedule encouraged staggered bus route times aligning with new 3 tier school start times, which allows the ability to add more bus routes and reduce overall student ridership significantly
  • Limiting students to one route to and from school to limit exposure risks and prohibit practices of being picked up and dropped off in different locations.
  • Amended loading/unloading procedures for buses to encourage safe social distancing of students which includes:
    • Specify loading/boarding buses from back to front and unload/departing buses from front to back
    • Enhanced administrative supervision of the loading of students at schools
    • Collaboration with bus companies to identify drop-off and pick-up areas to allow for social distancing
  • Created an action and communication protocol when a positive test is suspected or discovered on a bus
    • Contact tracing using Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) ridership log will be conducted to identify exposure potential
    • Stakeholder communication via phone, email, text will be immediately performed
    • Transportation alternatives will be in place for emergency isolation needs
    • Immediate removal of vehicle from service to allow for decontamination using CDC approved deep clean supplies

Rider Guidelines and Expectations

  • Students and drivers must always wear face coverings when on the school bus.
  • Students and drivers maintain physical distancing (except family members from same household).
  • Students and drivers should continue to practice good hygiene:
    • Washing hands often.
    • No touching face/others.
    • No sharing seats unless children are from the same family.
  • Students and drivers who feel sick must stay at home. Drivers will be given a wellness screening at terminal prior to loading buses to identify employees who may have been exposed or show symptoms of the coronavirus.
  • Families should maintain physical distancing at bus stops while waiting for the school bus: Always stand two arms lengths apart.