CAPE CORAL, Fla – School districts are working to meet the challenges of social distancing students on buses amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and bus drivers are voicing some safety concerns of their own.
Poor air circulation and lack of room to social distance on school buses is causing health officials to worry they’ll be the perfect place for the virus to spread.
The CDC has advised bus companies to have only one student per bench. This would mean taking some bus capacities down from as many as 77 students, to just 12.
However, school transportation experts have pointed out that even if schools wanted to run more buses to meet this challenge head on, they can't because of a nationwide driver shortage. So they're having to get creative with start times.
Still, drivers whose age puts them at a higher risk when it comes to COVID-19 are expressing real concerns.
“I don't want this, I'm not ready to die you know,” said Cheryl Merritt who has been a bus driver for 32 years.
Another concern is that kids won't follow social distancing rules once they're on a bus.
Many districts are adding bus monitors to routes to help address those concerns.
In an effort to help with air circulation, some states are requiring bus windows to be open year-round.