This page has the most up to date information relating to COVID and our schools. The situation is constantly changing, and as we have new information updates will be made. Please check this site often. We understand that the changes may cause confusion and ask for your understanding during this time. If you have any questions, please submit them on our Contact Us page and someone will answer as soon as possible. Please see the FAQ tab for more information.
The Safety and Health Guidance for Reopening Schools, Fall 2020 guidance has encouraged that where and whenever possible, students should be brought to school by private vehicle. This could include carpooling if that works for your family, neighbors, or close connections. We recognize that there are a number of variables that make transporting students to school by bus the best option for students and families, so we are developing plans to support safe transportation of students who elect to take the bus. The guidance (linked above) notes that though schools will be reopening at Step II, bus transportation will occur at Step III.
Our reopening team has been in communication with First Student, our contracted bus provider, around their disinfecting plans.
First Student is our transportation provider for WCUUSD schools. First Student (a company across North America) has researched products for deep disinfection and protection of the bus and will disinfect high-touch surfaces on a daily basis.
As for the bus ride itself:
Parents will complete a health screening prior to students boarding the bus. (see health and facilities tab for more information)
Sick students should not get on the bus.
Bus drivers are required to wear facial coverings while transporting students.
All students are required to wear facial coverings on the bus (with noted exceptions in Facial Coverings and Personal Protective Equipment).
Students will continue to have assigned seats on the bus. We are still making decisions about how students will be grouped - there are two major ideas. Though there will be some adjustments needed on an individual basis, we will assign seats by classroom/grade, so that students will be near others in the same classroom or “pod”, reducing as much as possible any unnecessary cross exposure. Depending on how many students are riding each bus, we may also have students from the same household sit together.
Students will be required to wear masks while riding the bus. Bus drivers will remain focused on safely driving the bus and will work with school staff to ensure that students understand why masks are required. Health and safety are paramount and students being able to ride the bus depends on wearing their masks and maintaining a safe environment for other riders.
As referenced in the Health and Facilities section, a screening at home will need to be completed prior to students being transported to school. Students who have respiratory symptoms, a fever above 100.4 F, or other COVID-19-related symptoms should remain at home and should not be sent to school.
Alternatives to busing to reduce the number of students riding the bus include:
While we are hopeful that families who are able to transport their child to/from school will do so in a private vehicle, we also encourage those who can to carpool in order to reduce the number of students riding on buses. Though imperfect, a carpool still poses a lower risk of exposure than a bus filled with children from 20+ different homes.
We encourage students to walk or bike to school, but only if it is safe to do so.
If there is a known or suspected case of COVID-19 that has been transported on the bus, the district will follow CDC Guidance.
Bus Transportation Updates for 2020/2021
The bus system will remain available to students for transportation to/from school, home(s), or daycares only. We recognize that students may have one or two parent/caregiver addresses and some may also have a daycare location for before or after school care. The bus system will only be able to transport students between school and home(s) or daycare addresses that are provided to school offices in advance.
In previous years we had the ability to offer more flexible transportation options for families. The health and safety practices that we will have in place in our schools will extend to the bus system and we will have assigned seats for students and designated bus schedules in order to keep students more safe and to allow for contact tracing if needed (these practices are addition to students wearing masks, bus cleaning, distancing when possible).
Students will not be able to ride different buses to alternative locations (ex. to a friend's house, an appointment location, a weekly music lesson, parent/caregiver's job in Montpelier, etc.) during the 20/21 school year. Alternative arrangements will require that students are picked up from school and we will be unable to issue bus passes to additional locations. We appreciate, in advance, your understanding and support in ensuring that the bus system is a safe and viable option for transporting students.