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even know how many people are not going to come back just because they don’t want to do it anymore. They are scared they are going to get sick.”


Lessons Learned … So Far The Centers for Disease Control


and Prevention offer guidance on approved devices and supplies. Gary Waits, CEO of National Express Cor- poration’s school bus division, said that disinfectant misters and sprayers have been hard to come by, even for North America’s second-largest contractor. The easiest supplies to get? Bleach and water. “Our plan is to [disinfect] at least


two times per day, after morning and afternoon routes,” he shared. Going forward, he added, the


company will ultimately invest in the most effective and efficient cleaning solution. Many in the industry have also been discussing the potential use of


physical barriers between the driver and student compartments. Benish pointed out that the Chicago Transit Authority is implementing curtains between the driver and passengers. “There are so many different ideas,


different buses and different seating configurations,” he said. “I can only imagine what we come up with. Keeping it simple is key.” Waits said National Express Transit


has provided the school bus division with insights on how to possibly move forward with both sanitizing vehicles and providing protection to staff and students. He worries when hearing plans


to erect plexiglass or, worse, shower curtains that need to be approved by the state school bus inspection enti- ty and installed throughout fleets. “The last thing you want is to be


restrictive to the driver,” he suggest- ed. “The idea of having to distract the driver by having to close some-


thing, limits their vision. … Those sorts of things will be a lot more difficult than wearing face masks.” He has also observed how transit systems are screening employees for symptoms when they arrive for work, which could translate to school bus locations. National Express Transit is currently providing PPE to all employ- ees for use on the job. He also said all drivers and mon-


itors are issued gloves for securing passengers in wheelchairs. Nation- al Express Transit is not currently distributing PPE to paying passen- gers, but Waits’ group is discussing potentially offering those to student riders on school buses. Waits also observered that relying


on drivers to screen students at bus stops is not a good idea. “Should a nurse be on the bus? Does screening happen at school? These are ques- tions a lot of people are asking and we are working through.” ●


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