SEVERE WX : Lake Effect Snow Warning - Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts

School officials consider bus safety while developing reopening plans

School districts are undertaking the most important task of all, with an abbreviated time frame, and a fast-approaching deadline: keeping students safe. And that responsibility begins before students even step foot in a classroom.

Posted: Jul 23, 2020 5:46 PM
Updated: Jul 23, 2020 6:22 PM

School districts are undertaking the most important task of all, with an abbreviated time frame, and a fast-approaching deadline: keeping students safe.

And that responsibility begins before students even step foot in a classroom.

"A couple of things that are a probable necessity are going to be masks for the drivers and the matrons and the children, of course," says New York School Bus Contractors Association President Corey Muirhead. "Hand sanitizer stations or bottles on each vehicle....disinfection spray on each vehicle to go over highly topical areas such as seat backs, guard rails, hand rails, seatbelts."

NYSBCA provides guidance and insight to member contractors, including Birnie Bus, which transports Utica School District students. President Muirhead says detailed guidance from the state has been sparse. But what he has an endless supply of, are questions.

"If you're wearing masks, do you still need to be six feet apart? That's a big question and clarity that we need," said Muirhead. "We're not exactly sure if we need to socially distance on a school bus." Muirhead adds that social distancing on a school bus might be difficult, if not impossible, to execute.

"Normal day you see 50 children ride this bus, how do you conform to social distancing and cut that vehicle down to 11 kids? It's impossible. It's economically and logistically impossible."

The Utica City School District is trying plan, with Birnie Bus. They've met twice, but more meetings are needed.

"They have canceled a couple of meetings on us but we are trying to reschedule right now because we're giving them information on what our needs are so they can start routing the buses," says Utica School Superintendent Bruce Karam.

Utica plans to submit their reopening plan to the school board on Tuesday, for their approval. All of the planning could be for nothing. The plans are due to the state by July 31, and the governor is going to let districts know if they can bring kids back, and to what extent, the first week of August.

Karam says, "We're not leaving any stone unturned. We're gonna do everything we possibly can to make this opening of school very safe for all of our students and teachers."

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1255971

Reported Deaths: 41173
CountyCasesDeaths
Queens1569407852
Kings1538388057
Suffolk1272872589
Nassau1138122551
Bronx1051755272
Westchester844201797
New York753193439
Erie517181371
Richmond447371380
Monroe44007760
Rockland31668806
Orange28574642
Onondaga27492528
Oneida16660342
Dutchess16541311
Albany16168255
Niagara11933241
Broome10981255
Saratoga914080
Schenectady8587124
Ulster7642191
Rensselaer6772104
Putnam644774
Chemung5567108
Chautauqua554156
Oswego487265
Ontario469482
Steuben4560131
Cayuga437269
Sullivan379849
Genesee365198
Wayne364651
Herkimer356156
St. Lawrence354759
Cattaraugus337361
Jefferson314522
Madison310876
Livingston267740
Tompkins264123
Cortland262854
Columbia243269
Allegany234775
Montgomery219774
Tioga219154
Wyoming213542
Clinton212918
Fulton207052
Warren204538
Greene202557
Orleans190868
Chenango175040
Otsego164623
Washington147324
Lewis145924
Seneca121846
Franklin11299
Delaware100020
Essex97218
Schoharie8895
Yates81316
Schuyler71410
Hamilton1461
Unassigned44104
Out of NY0165
Rome
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 27°
Binghamton
Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 21°
Rome
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 27°
Rome
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 6°
Feels Like: 27°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
2021 Golfer's Paradise Card - 21 Courses for only $99.99
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve