in-person classes. By mid-April, the district had spent more than $86,000 on COVID-19 mitigation supplies for school buses. Everyone is required to wear a mask unless they have a docu- mented medical or other reason, said Ryan Dillingham, the dis- trict’s transportation director. Temperature checks are per-

formed at the school entrance with touchless thermometers. Students who develop symptoms at school and need to be quar- antined are taken home solo by a transportation employee in a minivan disinfected before and after their ride. Students sit in the last row. Masks are worn and win- dows are open. For special needs students unable

to wear masks, the district considers other approaches, such as having an adult who sits with the child work on behavior strategies. One strategy entails the use of a cam-wrap to provide securement with soft reinforcers such as foam balls, marble slides, and board books for the student to use while on the bus, noted Blankenship. “This strategy supports the

student’s behavioral needs while on the bus and allows for recom- mended distancing between the adult and student,” she added. Blankenship pointed out Knox

County Schools has taken a stu- dent-specific approach based on unique medical and behavior needs and what has historically worked in the past for a particular student. “Because we’ve had fewer in-person riders, that’s given our teams more time to concentrate on our kids coming for in-person learning and pilot programs for transportation we’ve wanted to do on more of a mass scale,” she said. Mulick has found most students

are excited to return to school. “We realized during the pan-

demic the huge role that school plays,” he said. “It’s not just a place for students to go to do their educa- tion. It is their second home.” Allen pointed out, “This is an op- portunity to do things we’ve never

done before. I hope we’ve learned a few things. Clean buses are great, right? It’s a worldwide battle. We’ve grown together, we’re on the other side and we’re going to win the battle.” ●

Little Things

It's The

It's making sure the right equipment is in each vehicle for every student's unique need. It's having incredibly high standards for drivers and the vehicles they operate. It's why we set national benchmarks for alternative student transportation safety. It's about paying attention to the details and not skipping any steps. It's every team member's commitment to "focus on the one".

That's the ALC Difference. 45

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