MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – As students get ready to head back to the classroom, a lot of detail is going into how they’ll get there.

Paul Davis has been a school bus driver for 15 years, and runs business operations for Park Adam Transportation. His work day will now start with a temperature scan like all of the company’s bus drivers.

Park Adam Transportation gets around 3,600 students off to school in St. Louis Park every day, and also contracts with Bloomington and Edina Schools.

“The difficult thing for them is the routing and making sure we stay at that 50% capacity on the bus,” Davis said.

Upon boarding, students will be offered hand sanitizer and a mask if they don’t have one, and students will board back to front. Then it’s time to find a seat.

“We’ve got it set up to get that 50% capacity by either allowing two students or one student per seat,” Davis said as he pointed at markers on the wall.

Davis said the windows and the emergency hatch will be open to allow for air circulation, even possibly partially open during the winter.

High-touch surfaces will be cleaned between each route and seats will be cleaned daily. It’s more work for bus drivers at a time when there is a driver shortage, that existed even before the pandemic.

“People are nervous to work with school busses as a new job and unemployment benefits are definitely affecting a lot of industries,” Eastern Carver County Schools transportation manager John Thomas said.

Thomas serves as president for the Minnesota Association for Pupil Transportation. He says districts and bus companies have been preparing transportation plans for months, and asked that parents go over how their students can be safer on the bus.

“There is a really good plan in place but everybody has to participate,” he said.

Kate Raddatz

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