The coronavirus pandemic will have a direct effect on how Gaston County Schools provides bus transportation for the 2020-2021 academic year. The district uses 211 yellow school buses to transport more than 16,000 students.
Because of social distancing requirements, the number of students who can ride a bus at the same time will be reduced significantly – only one student allowed per seat on the bus. Students from the same family may sit together. For students who rely on vendor-provided van transportation, two students will be allowed to sit in the same seat.
Students (whether riding on a bus or using vendor-provided van transportation) must wear a face covering unless they cannot tolerate a face covering due to developmental, medical, or behavioral health needs or a sincerely-held religious belief. If a student cannot wear a face covering, the parent will need to complete a form to notify our Transportation Department. Students who do not wear a face covering on a school bus or vendor-provided transportation van must remain six feet from other students.
Increase in routes and travel time
Social distancing to reduce the number of students on a school bus will increase both the need for more bus routes and the amount of time buses will be on the road. Additionally, school schedules may need to be adjusted to allow adequate time for bus pickup in the morning and drop off in the afternoon.
Our Transportation Department will work with school administrators to determine routes and how to best accommodate students/families who rely on school bus transportation. The Accountability Department will provide data, student rosters, and other necessary information to assist the Transportation Department and schools in determining bus routes.
In addition to schedules, routes, and the number of students on a bus at the same time, attention will be given to the proper sanitation/cleanliness of school buses. A driver will have time to clean touch points and disinfect the bus between routes. The Facilities Department will provide a disinfecting sprayer for each school to use on buses as well as approved disinfectant and paper towels.
Parents who have questions about bus transportation at their child’s school should contact the school office.