From how to disinfect school buses to continuing alcohol and drug testing of school bus drivers, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) is providing the industry with answers to frequently asked questions arising from how the coronavirus pandemic has affected operations and staff nationwide.
The association announced its new information report on coronavirus and student transportation Tuesday afternoon in an email to members. It added that the web resource will be continuously updated as new information is made available.
The FAQs provide links and resources on best practices for cleaning and disinfecting school buses, citing information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EPA, transit agencies and school bus OEMs. NASDPTS said it is also soliciting information from local school districts on procedures that have already been implemented.
Related: NASDPTS Information Report on Coronavirus and Student Transportation
Related: NASDPTS Announces Different Plans for School Bus Illegal-Passing Survey Amid Closures
Many school districts nationwide are also mobilizing school buses to deliver meals and internet access to students and families who are in need. NASDPTS points to news sources such as School Transportation News to stay abreast of developments, and namely how school districts are rerouting their buses to deliver the services.
Other questions addressed include whether stop-arms and warning lights should continue to be deployed at bus stops when those meals are delivered. NASDPTS stated that at least one state, Vermont, has authorized school bus drivers to use their eight-way student loading lights, which work in conjunction with the stop arm, when stopped to deliver meals to children. NASDPTS recommends contacting individual state directors to obtain more guidance.
The information paper also addresses the continuing need of school districts and states to provide oversight of school bus drivers, namely that alcohol and drug testing must still be performed under 49 CFR Part 382. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration made several exceptions, including the extension of commercial driver’s licenses that are up for renewal through the end of June and waiving the 14-day waiting period for commercial learner permit holders before they can take their commercial driver’s license tests.
Inquiries and comments on the FAQs may be sent to NASDPTS Executive Director Charlie Hood at email@example.com.
Editor’s note—This article has been updated from a previous version to provide a website link to the FAQs and to list Vermont as the state that has authorized normal use of eight-way warning lights and stop arms when school buses are delivering meals.