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The new HEPA 6 ventilation system from ProAir is one of several new products created to meet demand from COVID-19.


Jeremy Creech, the transportation manager for the East Coast Migrant Head Start Project that serves chil- dren of migrant and seasonal farm workers in South Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, and Penn- sylvania, said his organization received some CARES Act funding and used it to mostly purchase personal protec- tive equipment. “We have spent a lot on PPE and disinfecting supplies,”


he added. “We did investigate electrostatic disinfecting spraying machines. However, they are not suitable for our use due to all our buses being equipped with [child safety restraint systems] CSRS, which should not be sprayed with any chemicals.”


What About Buses? School bus production had been growing steadily over the past decade, according to the School Transportation News Buyer’s Guide. Manufacturing bottomed out at just over 30,000 vehicles built for the 12 months beginning


36 School Transportation News • NOVEMBER 2020


Nov. 1, 2010, and running through Oct. 31, 2011. That was the effect of the Great Recession two years before. But by the fall of last year, school bus production was at nearly 45,000 units.


Then came the pandemic. The sales dynamic of school buses has changed. For example Blue Bird’s third-quarter bus sales for 2020


declined by $119.6 million, or 38.7 percent, from the pri- or-year. The same quarter last year, the bus manufacturer sold 3,240 units. This year, only 1,948 units were sold. Daimler Trucks North America, the parent company


of Thomas Built Buses, showed a total decrease in unit sales across all brands of 55 percent to 61,000 vehicles in the second quarter of 2020, compared to 134,900 during the same quarter last year. The earnings report stated that, “The key figures were strongly influenced by the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting decline in demand for cars, vans, trucks and buses.” Notwithstanding, school districts are still vigilant of


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