The Halton Region will return to full-time in-class instruction for elementary students and a hybrid model for secondary students. In light of this, and with time and resource limitations, HSTS has created the following plan to help continue to transport your child safely during this unprecedented time.
The Ministry of Education is recommending, where possible, active travel (cycling, walking) and private transportation by parents or caregivers, which will ease the pressure on transportation demand. If you choose to drive, please consider the impact increased traffic congestion will have at the school site, and plan to park a short distance away to ensure the space is safer for all students.
SELF SCREENING & SELF ASSESSMENT
Student health must be assessed prior to boarding the school bus every day. Do not send your child to the school bus if they are sick.
Review your schools board’s return to school websites for self-screening and self-assessment expectations.
Bus/taxi drivers will be self-screening for illness before operating their vehicle.
BUS CAPACITY & SEATING PLANS
School buses are shared spaces and strict physical distancing is not possible on the vehicles. Buses may be loaded up to capacity. Students will sit two to three per seat on a full sized bus. Seats will be assigned by school administrators and the seating plan must be followed in the event that contact tracing is required. Siblings and cohorting students by grade will be considered when the seating plan is created.
Increased disinfecting protocols for frequently touched surfaces (for example, handrails and seatbacks) will be required at least twice daily. In between bus runs, special attention will be paid to the handrails, which students should hold onto for safety reasons, when entering and exiting the bus.
STUDENT FACE COVERINGS
Students will be required to meet the same mask requirements as in schools. HSTS strongly recommends the use of face masks by all students. Exceptions will be made for students with medical conditions or special needs that prevent masking. Families should direct exemption requests to the attention of the school administration.
DRIVER PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
Drivers will be supplied with the same personal protective equipment (PPE) as school staff. The use of the mask is mandatory while transporting students. Drivers may also wear plastic face shields while students load and unload the school bus. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer will be provided for the driver’s use.
Windows will be opened by the bus driver when feasible and depending upon weather conditions, for increased ventilation. Students should not touch the windows.
FIRST ROW OF THE SCHOOL BUS
The first row of the bus will be left empty. If needed, it will be used to support a student who requires medical attention and/or used by the driver’s own child(ren).
If your child is eligible for busing (confirm here), and will NOT be using transportation services, complete our Opt Out Form. This will help HSTS keep updated bus lists. Eligible students can opt back in for transportation. During the school year you can do this by contacting your child’s school directly. Due to the requirement of assigned seating, the timeline to re-instate transportation will align with your school board’s in-person re-entry dates.
Prior to the pandemic, bus drivers were already in short supply. There may be times this year when a bus does not run on time or at all unless/until a driver can be replaced. Due to the requirement of consistent bus seating plans, bus companies will not be able to help cover runs/routes without a driver the same way they have in the past, which may result in longer delays or rolling route cancellations. It is highly recommended families have a backup plan in place in the event the route is delayed or cancelled.
We understand and respect that each family will hold a different comfort level as it relates to riding the school bus. Our commitment is to be transparent with families regarding our service, and to adhere to the guidelines required by the Government of Ontario.
All information remains subject to change. This is a working resource and will be updated as information becomes available.COVID-19 Transportation Information