GDOE releases school bus safety guidelines

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With the COVID-19 pandemic, new modes of learning and new protocols for transporting students had to be implemented to prevent the spread of the virus.

In preparation for school year (SY) 2020-2021 and in light of the COVID-19 health situation in Guam, the Guam Department of Education (GDOE) and Department of Public Works (DPW) are working together to implement additional safety protocols on school buses.

Parents/guardians should be aware that the following safety protocols and guidelines will be implemented on all DPW buses this school year:

Screening: To reduce the risk of spreading illness, parents should assess their child’s wellness BEFORE they leave to bus shelters. Parents should NOT send their child to school if their child is sick or has symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. fever of 100.4 degrees fahrenheit or higher, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell, etc.).

Driver Training: All drivers have received training on proper disinfecting procedures for the school bus. These procedures follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations:

Proper cleaning and disinfecting techniques

Proper use and disposal of personal protective equipment (PPE)

Safe product usage guidelines (chemical safety)

Proper methods to empty and dispose of trash in school buses

Signage and Student Education: Signage will be prominently posted indicating the proper method to protect others when coughing or sneezing on the school bus.

Driver Isolation: All drivers should be encouraged to keep a safe distance and will establish a buffer zone (no students should sit in the front two rows).

Health and Safety Requirements:

Students and drivers are required to wear a mask/face covering at all times.

Hand sanitizer will be available for school bus drivers and students.

Mandatory social distancing should be adhered to throughout the bus (alternating seating is required).

Buses will be sanitized after each group of students is dropped to a school site.

An emergency supply of masks will be available should a student damage or misplace their mask.

There will be no changes to last year’s bus schedule and the official school year 2020-2021 schedule will be issued by DPW. The GDOE and DPW ask for the community’s patience as delays may be experienced during the first few days of bus operations due to these new safety protocols.

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