Lincoln Parish enforces new protocol for school transportation amid COVID-19

Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 9:27 AM CDT
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LINCOLN PARISH, La. (KNOE) - Many school districts throughout Northeast Louisiana are making adjustments to transportation so students can feel safe riding to and from school during the pandemic.

Starting Aug. 19, school buses in Lincoln Parish are required to operate at fifty percent capacity. That means a maximum of 36 people are allowed on one bus. They say they’re taking all precautions they can to ensure the safety of all students.

“We’re following all of the CDC and BESE guidelines. You know, all buses are riding with windows down all the time. We are social distancing on the bus to the greatest extent possible when you have 36 kids on there,” said transportation coordinator Rik Cason.

In Lincoln Parish, one new bus route has been added for the fall. Only one had to be added because many parents in the district have opted for virtual learning which has helped to keep the number of riders low.

In addition to virtual learning, alternate class schedules have played a part in helping to lower the number of students on a bus at a time. These alternate schedules apply to students in seventh through 12th grade.

“We know that a lot of parents are making other choices as well about how they’ll get their kids to school. So our drivers have been actively trying to contact and make, you know, make a contact with everybody who has ridden their bus in the past,” said Cason.

All drivers and riders will be required to wear masks. There will be a supply of masks on the bus for students who don’t have one.

Drivers have also stepped up their training. They’ve learned how to clean and sanitize the buses, even doing their part to encourage students to wear masks.

“They always have training every year about safety and performance on buses because that’s a requirement of their CDL license so... but this has been a little stepped up with more specific training on the COVID-19 situations,” he said.

Drivers will be asked to fill out a questionnaire, get their temperatures checked, and report any symptoms or exposure to the virus before reporting to work. If they display symptoms, a substitute driver will take their place.

“We’ll be doing everything we can to keep their kids safe. And we always have, truthfully. That’s always been our goal to keep kids safe coming and going from school. So that’ll always be our number one goal,” said Cason.

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