An executive order issued by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb provides flexibility to school districts in how they conduct school bus drills, inspections and driver requirements during COVID-19 school closures.
As of April 2, Gov. Holcomb directed all public K-12 school buildings to close and to switch student instruction to remote learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. After receiving recommendations from superintendents, he released a new executive order on April 9 that gave direction on how schools would operate during this crisis.
Executive Order 20-20 states that school bus inspection decals set to expire on Sept. 30 are extended to Nov. 30.
Indiana Department of Education spokesman Adam Baker explained that the department is working with the Indiana State Police to complete the inspections. He added that he believes the inspections will be completed on time. If not, the provision allows for the 60-day extension.
School bus driver requirements for a school bus safety education course are also suspended. The Indiana State School Bus Committee will establish an alternative experience requirement for drivers by the public health emergency that satisfies the intent of the provision.
“The committee is already working to adjust class times and schedules to accommodate the pre-service classes canceled thus far. This includes starting earlier, ending later, and offering more classes during the week,” explained Baker.
He noted that if necessary, the committee will explore virtual options.
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Executive Order 20-20 also suspends school bus emergency preparedness drills as well as a requirement that school bus driver instruct their student passengers on properly fastening seatbelts. All school bus passenger evacuation drills have also been suspended at this time.
“As you know, this time is both unprecedented and challenging,” Baker shared. “So, the foundation of our conversations has been, is flexibility necessary and needed in this moment, and if so, what does that look like? And how do we continue to ensure safety and compliance?”