HFM BOCES will conduct transportation activities that are consistent with state-issued public transit guidance and NYSED School Reopening guidelines. Students and staff must wear acceptable face coverings at all times on school buses (e.g., entering, exiting, and seated) and should maintain appropriate social distancing to the extent practicable.
In most cases, transportation to BOCES programs is the responsibility of the home district. The HFM BOCES Regional Transportation Service provides bussing for Gloversville and Johnstown students. Regardless of who is providing the service, HFM BOCES expects all transportation to follow the below guidelines:
- Health screening protocols must be completed prior to all students boarding a bus. All parents and guardians must ensure that their child/children are not experiencing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
- Students who are able, will be required to wear masks and social distance on the bus to the extent practicable; however, students whose physical or mental health would be impaired are not required to wear a face covering, but will be appropriately socially distanced and will not be denied transportation.
- Students who do not have a mask will not be denied transportation. Masks will be provided to students prior to boarding a bus. Students in the same household can sit together, but they will be seated in the area of the bus that is the proper age group for the youngest student. Parents and legal guardians are encouraged to drop off or walk students to school to reduce density on buses.
- The basic seating chart for each bus will be modified for social distancing while all occupants are wearing a mask. This arrangement will allow for one driver, one attendant and 21 passengers. If there is a situation where a student is not able to wear a mask, the BOCES will modify the seating chart to ensure social distancing and safety of all occupants.
- Students will be trained and provided periodic reminders on the proper use of personal protective equipment, proper social distancing and the signs and symptoms of COVID-19. This will take place on the bus as needed and promoted by the school districts.
- Buses will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after the AM and PM route sets, and the high contact areas will be cleaned after each group of students exits the bus and prior to the next group boarding. Cleaning logs will be required and inspections will be completed to ensure the cleanliness of buses.
- School buses will not be equipped with hand sanitizer due to its combustible composition and potential liability to the BOCES or district. Bus drivers and attendants will not carry personal bottles of hand sanitizer with them on school buses. (Update 8/21: NYSED has temporarily approved the installation of hand sanitizer dispensers [40 oz. or less] on buses and will allow students and staff to have personal-size quantities [8 oz. of less) while aboard a bus.)
- Wheelchair school buses will configure wheelchair placement to ensure social distancing of 6 feet.
- Whether school is in session remotely or otherwise, pupil transportation will be provided to nonpublic, parochial, private, charter schools or students whose Individualized Education Plans have placed them out of district whose schools are meeting in in-person sessions.
- All students are entitled to transportation by the district to the extent required by law. Transportation departments do not have the ability or the right to deny transportation for children who are in foster care, homeless or attend private or charter schools. Parents who may have missed the due date to request out of district transportation due to a reasonable excuse may file a 310 appeal with the Commissioner of Education.
- Students will be taught by bus drivers and attendants on how to follow social distancing protocols when embarking and disembarking buses.
- Schools have reconfigured the loading and unloading locations for many students who are transported by bus to ensure appropriate social distancing.
- When temperatures are above 45 degrees Fahrenheit, school buses will transport passengers with roof hatches slightly opened to provide additional air flow.
- Routing will be modified as needed to best serve the needs of all of our students and participating districts.
School Bus Staff
- School bus drivers, attendants and mechanics are required perform a self-health assessment for symptoms of COVID-19 before arriving to work. If personnel are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, they will notify their supervisor as per the established reporting procedures and seek medical attention, if needed.
- School bus drivers, attendants and mechanics must wear a face covering along with an optional face shield.
- Transportation staff (drivers, attendants, mechanics and cleaners) will be trained and provided periodic refreshers on the proper use of personal protective equipment, the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and proper use of social distancing.
- Transportation departments will provide Personal Protective Equipment such as masks and gloves for drivers and attendants in buses as well as hand sanitizer for all staff in their transportation locations such as dispatch offices, employee lunch/break rooms and/or bus garages.
- Drivers and attendants who must have direct physical contact with a child will wear gloves.
- Transportation staff will be encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water before and after AM and PM runs to keep healthy and prevent the spread of respiratory and diarrheal infections from one person to the next.