The Uncertainty of School Bus Drivers
By Samantha Rodriguez
COVID-19’s economic impact has been devastating. While most students and teachers hunkered down at home and attempted remote learning, bus drivers found themselves taking on a variety of new roles in the school system. Plans for the 2020-2021 school year may vary among school districts, but a common thread between each is the lack of quality support and attention towards bus drivers.
Take Fort Worth, Texas as an example - due to the school district’s continual postponement of in-person schooling, bus drivers have had a hard time applying for unemployment services. To compound this problem, drivers are paid hourly. In most school districts that have moved to online schooling, bus drivers are being asked to do other jobs. In Virginia’s Montgomery County Public Schools, bus drivers have been delivering meals to students as part of their summer meal program.
As we move forward, more schools will continue to open and new bus safety standards will be implemented. In OCALA, Florida, for instance, all students and drivers are required to wear masks and/or face shields. Additionally, after each route, the bus is sprayed with alcohol. At the end of each day, the bus is thoroughly cleaned. However, these sanitary precautions are likely not enough to stop the spread of COVID-19. According to the CDC, COVID-19 is generally transmitted through the air, not on surfaces that can be sprayed down and wiped. Proving yet again, that it is the bus drivers being thrown under the bus.
MCPS, Virginia: http://www.mcps.org/reopening_2020/covid19
How Covid Spreads: https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/