Keeping school buses safe during the pandemic

School bus lot in Cincinnati
Posted at 5:27 AM, Aug 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-07 10:23:51-04

CINCINNATI — While school boards have discussed reopening classrooms safely, one school bus company is making sure school transportation will be safe, too.

RELATED: Multiple Dearborn Co. districts head back to full-time, in-person classes Wednesday

First Student, the largest provider of school bus services in the United States, is using a non-toxic disinfectant called ZOONO-Z71.

"It's a product that we've painstakingly researched," Kenn Jones, senior location manager for First Student Cincinnati, said. "It will be applied to all services of the bus, and it kills the COVID-19 virus and protects the bus for up to 30 days."

Students who ride First Student buses will also have assigned seating. When students load into a bus, they will also fill seats starting from the back of the bus to the front and they will unload from front to back.

RELATED: Governor DeWine to mandate masks for K-12 students as schools reopen

In Ohio, the Department of Education has asked school districts to count the number of buses and drivers being used.

Kentucky officials are asking for first-graders to wear masks and for mounted hand sanitizer to be installed in buses; however, no barriers will be erected in the buses.

And in Indiana, officials are asking for buses to be cleaned after every route, and for drivers and staff to be trained on how to properly disinfect the buses.

RELATED: Beshear: School start delay 'possible' if COVID-19 positivity rate continues to rise

These precautions are not only to protect students, but also to protect bus drivers like Greg Huffman.

Huffman, 62, has already had COVID-19, and he doesn't want anyone else to go through what he did. That's why he has fought for changes on school buses to protect the drivers in them.

"The bus drivers are the age group, in this district, where most of the fatalities, or serious injuries, are associated with," Huffman said. "I wanted to bring light to people to recognize what they're exposing their drivers to."

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