School Bus Safety Guidance During the COVID-19 Pandemic

School Bus Safety Guidance  During the COVID-19 Pandemic

School Bus Safety Guidance 

During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Photo by Marcelo Cidrack

With some school areas looking to open up schools to in-person learning, there are many questions about safely getting kids back to school. In this article, we’ll discuss school bus safety measures and look at the recommendations from experts about the most effective way to reduce the virus risk. 

Open the Windows

We know now that the virus is caused by droplets that are expelled when we talk, sing, cough or shout. Some of these big droplets go out into the air and fall to the ground safely around us. Some of the smaller droplets can remain airborne for hours and spread the virus through the air. 

For this reason, smaller enclosed spaces with little ventilation and groups of people gathered together are the riskiest environments for virus transmission. To make school busses safe, researchers at the University of Michigan recommended that the windows stay open to increase the airflow. If it is too cold or rainy to open the window, school buses should be equipped with HEPA air filters to help clean the air of viruses. 

Limit Trips to Under 15 Minutes

We also know that the less time spent in an enclosed environment, the safer it is. While the average school bus Toronto ride is 30 minutes or more, bus rides should be adjusted for the shortest ride possible, under 15 minutes if possible. 

Limit Passengers

Photo by Maxim Lopez

Just as grocery stores and other businesses have had to limit their customers, keeping a low number of school bus passengers also decreases the risk for virus transmission. While most school buses are designed to carry up to 72 passengers, limiting the number of children on the bus makes things a lot safer. 

Load From Back To Front

By loading passengers starting at the back of the bus, you can reduce the contact between riders. Passengers should exit the bus in the opposite way, from front to back. According to the pandemic guidelines from the Student Transport Services of Central Ontario, Students from the same family should share a bus bench, up to a maximum of three riders to help reduce close contact with other students. 

All Passengers Should Wear A Mask

Photo by Atoms

Another essential guideline for school bus COVID safety is that all passengers and drivers should wear a properly fitting face mask at all times on the bus. Passengers should not remove their masks during the ride, and there should be no eating or drinking on the bus. It is essential to wear masks properly, and children should be shown how to wear their masks and not wear them under their noses or their chins. 

Bus drivers should carry extra masks and hand sanitizer to give to students if they forget their mask or their mask is damaged. Drivers can also consider wearing a face shield to protect their eyes if they need to come in close contact with riders or assist riders with seat belts or buckles. 

Plexiglass barriers can also help limit close contact between the riders and the driver and help protect the bus driver. 

All Passengers Should Monitor Themselves For COVID-19 Symptoms


Another essential safety guideline is that, just like for school, all passengers should screen themselves daily for any COVID symptoms. Students should remain at home if they have even one symptom and speak to their family doctor or contact Public Health about a COVID test. If they feel at all unwell, children should not ride the school bus. 

Clean High Touch Surfaces 

The Federal guidelines for student transportation during COVID also recommend that all students wash and disinfect their hands before boarding the bus and that buses are cleaned between routes and especially on high-touch surfaces. If there is a COVID-19 case reported on the bus, that bus should be thoroughly cleaned and remain out of use for at least 24 hours. 

While COVID-19 remains at large, school buses need to do more than just pay a visit to a transmission shop in Oshawa for maintenance and repairs or secure spare tires from a reliable used tires shop at St. Catharines

These guidelines may not always be easy to follow, but they can help reduce the risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus during the pandemic while riding on a school bus.