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SPECIAL REPORT


licenses. A survey of states conduct- ed by School Transportation News in April found that at least half are providing extensions to school bus drivers whose licenses expired or are expiring during school and DMV closures. Those are in addition to extensions provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. “It’s not like you can take some-


body off the street, put them through a two-day training program and say, hey, go ahead and start transporting kids. That’s a long process if they don’t have a CDL,” opined Macysyn. “It depends on the state, but to me it’s at least a month or two months.” What’s the backlog going to be in terms of the road test once the DMV opens? There is going to be a flood of people, not just new applicants but people who have had licenses expire. He said the extensions kick the


can down the road. “We’re going to have to pay the piper at some point.”


Doelker said Dean Transporta-


tion is trying to restart CDL training soon. For existing drivers, he said he has been championing the use of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s nine-module school bus inservice curriculum, which the agency took online last month. And to meet physical distancing re-


quirements, he said refresher and new CDL training is not too daunting of a task because he said his trainers often work with no more than a half-dozen people, or they can adequately social distance in a classroom. They merely need to ensure the class attendees are remaining sufficiently apart from one another. Plus, regional trainers can provide video presentations to several groups in different locations at the same time. And behind-the-wheel training isn’t an issue because there is usually only one driver and the instructor on bus. It’s hands-on CPR, first aid and


special needs training that Doelker said present the biggest challenges. The Crisis Prevention Institute, which Dean Transportation uses to teach de-escalation and self-defense tech- niques to staff, is working on virtual training but “doesn’t know how to make that fully work.” What hasn’t changed is that the


success of training rests with the in- structors, albeit using a new medium. “With our regional trainers, we’re letting them know they’ll need to be the cheerleaders of the new order,” he shared. “There is an element of folks who don’t believe in the dangers of COVID-19. We need trainers to be leaders and make this work, manage the naysayers. It will succeed if we get the buy-in from employees to make it succeed.” This could be moot if drivers never


return to work. “Most of the drivers will not be back in a bus within five months.” cautioned Benish. “We don’t


20 School Transportation News • JUNE 2020


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