Sudbury Student Services Consortium - About Covid-19
 

Return to School - Transportation Update


Covid-19 Quick Safety Tips Video



During these unprecedented times, Consortia across the province are working with their Member School Boards, their local Public Health Unit, their Operators and the Ministry of Education to mitigate health risks associated with COVID-19 on transportation vehicles. SSSC’s priority is creating an environment where students can feel safe and limit the transmission of the virus to the extent possible.

Due to different local conditions, some areas may have a slightly different approach regarding a variety of aspects relating to student transportation. In all cases, however, care has been taken to meet and/or exceed the Ministry’s guidelines.

Parents must assess their child’s health before sending them on the bus/van or dropping them off at school. Please see Public Health Ontario resources on COVID safety and a self-assessment tool.

Public Health Ontario Resource

Self-assessment Tool

Parents will be required to pick up their child at the bus stop or at the school immediately upon identification of a sick child. Unsupervised sick students at the stop will be isolated on the vehicle upon boarding, to the extent possible. The student will be required to wear a mask during the trip to school.

  • Respiratory and hand hygiene are critical mitigation strategies that limit the transmission of viruses. Students are encouraged to wash their hands thoroughly and/or use hand-sanitizer prior to going to the stop, and then sanitizing their hands again (using their hand-sanitizer) before boarding the bus.
  • Students from Kindergarten to grade 12 must wear a mask, unless unable to do so for medical reasons or due to special needs.

Please keep in mind that reducing COVID-19 risk of transmission is everyone’s responsibility.

Reviewing basic school bus safety rules is also critical, particularly for first time riders. The following resources are available to teach young students school bus safety: here

If eligible students and their parents choose not to use SSSC’s transportation services, we ask that you opt-out as soon as possible here. This will assist SSSC, the School and Public Health to perform contact tracing on students who are actually riding the bus, if a suspected case of COVID-19 is identified. Eligible students may opt back into the service at any time, although reassignment to transportation may take some time depending on the volume of changes.

It is recommended that parents and students use active transportation to get to school as much as possible. Walking and rolling the whole way, or part of the way, will reduce traffic around the school and provide a mask-free experience.

SSSC has suspended the Courtesy Seating Program this year due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 restrictions.

If eligible students and their parents choose not to use SSSC’s transportation services, we ask that you opt-out as soon as possible here. This will assist SSSC, the School and Public Health to perform contact tracing on students who are actually riding the bus, if a suspected case of COVID-19 is identified. Eligible students may opt back into the service at any time, although reassignment to transportation may take some time depending on the volume of changes.

School Bus Safety Starts at Home!

Did you know that school bus safety is EVERY bus rider’s responsibility?

To ensure your child understands how to take the bus safely, SSSC recommends that parents/guardians:

  • Review the School Bus Safety Brochure with their child, either online or in hardcopy format, before school starts and on a regular basis.
  • Help their child understand their role in keeping themselves, and the other riders, safe.
  • Practice proper bus riding behaviour at home with their child.

You can help the bus driver get everyone to and from school safely, simply by following these bus safety rules!

Reducing the risk of transmission between students will depend upon their behaviour while riding the bus. New rules regarding mask-wearing, hand-hygiene and physical distancing will be communicated frequently and reinforced with visual and verbal cues on the bus. Students are expected to respect their seating assignment, even if it means they are seated with their siblings or classmates, rather than their friends or by themselves. These are all necessary precautions to reduce transmission and to facilitate contact tracing if there is a a COVID positive case reported.

School bus safety rules are designed to reduce injury to students on their ride to and from school. Students should remain seated with their backpack on their lap and avoid "horsing-around". They should not eat or drink on the bus to avoid spills and garbage. Bullying on the bus, whether verbal or physical, will not be tolerated.

Students who do not follow general school bus safety rules, and/or who cause disturbances on the bus with their unruly behaviour, may be temporarily or permanently suspended from receiving transportation services. Please review these online safety rules with your child.

Students who live in the same household will be expected to sit together, while single riders may be grouped with classmates, to the extent possible.

SSSC prepares the seat assignment and Drivers will be responsible for telling students in which seat they should sit. Seats will be clearly numbered. The student must stay in their assigned seat during every ride in order to maintain cohort bubbles to the extent possible. This reduces virus transmission and facilitates contract tracing for public health.

Kindergarten students will also have an assigned seat, and parent/guardian will be required to meet them at their stop, as usual.

Seat assignments may change due to new registered students, however SSSC may attempt to limit changes to seat assignments, if necessary.

Parents/guardians and students are expected to do their best to maintain adequate physical distance between family groupings. A distance of 2m between families is suggested.

Stops where there are many students (i.e. apartment buildings, congregated stops) may be divided into 2 or more stops in order to allow space for smaller groups of students to wait. It is important that students arrive at their designated stop at least 5 minutes before the posted stop time.

Once the bus arrives, students should not crowd the front door. Rather, students should line up while maintaining a 2m physical distance between them, where possible. No more than one student should be on the stairs at a time. Students should get to their assigned seat and sit down with their bag on their lap as quickly as possible.

Operators will do their utmost to keep the same driver on the same run, every day. Drivers will be expected to wear a mask unless they are unable to do so due to a medical condition or because it interferes with their vision. As students board, drivers may be wearing a mask and face shield or goggles. This can be frightening for children, who may not recognize their friendly face. Parents/guardians should consider talking about this aspect of the ride with their children before their first trip on the bus, and supervise them at the stop until they board the bus.

Because Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is designed to protect the wearer, drivers of yellow buses and vans will have the option to wear whatever PPE they feel protects them best. This means drivers may wear their own cloth masks or may be provided medical-grade masks, should they so choose. They may or may not wear face shields or goggles during loading or while responding to a first aid event.

Drivers of wheelchair buses will be required to wear additional PPE, not only to protect themselves, but also to protect each student from cross-contamination. These drivers should wear a face shield or goggles, a mask and may wear a paper gown when handling and securing individual students’ wheelchair. This is due to the close proximity between the driver and the student, and the higher potential for body fluid transmission. The driver should use hand-sanitizer before and after handling each student, or wear disposable gloves.

Upon arriving at the school, students will unload from the front to the back, one seat at a time, while maintaining physical distance between them. Students should use their personal hand-sanitizer as soon as they get off the bus and before entering the school, if possible. Schools will direct students to make their way to the appropriate location for their class cohorts.

At dismissal time, schools will do their best to maintain class cohorts until it is time to load buses/vans. Class cohorts may be separated into family cohorts upon loading, based on seat assignments.

  • Assigned seating by family bubble or neighbor bubble, to the extent possible. Seats will be clearly numbered and the driver will indicate in which seat each student should sit.
  • Loading capacity will be as normal, with a full load being 48-70 students, depending on the number of eligible students and their grade level. Students may be seated 2 or 3 per bench.
  • Students from Kindergarten to grade 12 must wear a mask, unless unable to do so for medical reasons or due to special needs.
  • The bench behind the driver will be left vacant, to the extent possible.
  • Deep cleaning of vehicles twice a day with an approved disinfectant. Once after the morning runs and once again after the afternoon runs.

  • Parents and school staff must wear a mask when securing students within the van
  • Parents may choose to use a non-scented, disinfectant wipe to clean any plastic or metal surfaces where their child will be sitting. Spray will not be permitted.
  • Senior students sitting in the front seat must wear a mask.
  • Students from Kindergarten to grade 12 must wear a mask, unless unable to do so for medical reasons or due to special needs.
  • Assigned seating by family bubble or classroom bubble, to the extent possible. Loading up to 6 passengers.
  • Deep cleaning of vehicles twice a day with an approved disinfectant. Once after the morning runs and once again after the afternoon runs.

  • Driver may wear gown, face shield or goggles, mask, and gloves, depending on the circumstances. Driver will use hand-sanitizer before and after loading each student, or wear gloves.
  • Assigned seating by family bubble or classroom bubble, to the extent possible. Seats will be clearly numbered and the driver will indicate in which seat each student should sit.
  • Loading capacity will be normal. Ambulatory Students may be seated 2 or 3 per bench. All wheelchair positions will be used to secure students using wheelchairs.
  • Students from Kindergarten to grade 12 must wear a mask, unless unable to do so for medical reasons or due to special needs.
  • The bench behind the driver will be left vacant, to the extent possible.
  • Deep cleaning of vehicles twice a day with an approved disinfectant. Once after the morning runs and once again after the afternoon runs. The handrail, a high touch area, as well as any other affected areas, will be cleaned after every run.

Bus attendants and monitors will wear increasingly protective gear, depending on their role within the bus/van. Any individuals that come into close proximity with a student (i.e. to load and secure the student) will likely wear a gown, face shield or goggles, a mask and gloves. An alternative to using gloves is to use hand-sanitizer before and after handling each student.

Individuals who are only monitoring students and who are not required to enter into the 2m physical space around students for any reason, will only be required to wear masks, unless unable to do so, and may choose to wear face shields or goggles.

Adult Crossing Guards (ACG) are deployed at warranted locations by the City of Greater Sudbury and Espanola and are managed by the Sudbury Safety Council. The ACG will be wearing a mask and some may also wear a face shield if they prefer to.

Students are asked to make a special effort to give crossing guards some space while crossing the street. Drivers are reminded that it is illegal to proceed through an intersection while a crossing guard remains in the intersection, even if it appears there is space. This is a finable offence.

In the event there is an individual, whether School Staff, Driver or Student, identified as potentially having COVID-19, and who may have come in contact with students on a particular bus, the School will contact the local Public Health Unit. The Public Health Unit will conduct contact tracing based on predetermined criteria and advise the school and affected individuals regarding next steps to take. This may or may not include self-isolation, or other measures.


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Contact Information

Sudbury Student Services Consortium

199 Travers St.
Sudbury, ON P3C 3K2

Telephone: (705) 521-1234 (Toll Free): 1-877-225-1196

Suggestions or comments to: [email protected]

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Renée Boucher, Executive Director