Bus drivers concerned with safety protocol as school approaches

Reopening Schools in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- We are ten days away from the first day of school, and we have heard concerns about safety inside school walls from teachers and parents but now we are hearing from bus drivers.

We spoke with two bus drivers who say they are very concerned about the school year after going to orientation.

“My concern as a bus driver is just the safety protocol mainly,” said Duna Walker, Bus Driver for First Student.

The first day of school is right around the corner and as everyone is preparing for a COVID safe environment, some bus drivers have concerns.

“Everything has been focused publicly, for the school safety but for the bus riders, it starts on the bus stop,” said Walker.

Duna Walker is a bus driver for First Student, which is contracted by LRSD Schools and her routes pick up elementary students for two schools.

“My route list, when I counted there’s 79 kids,” said Walker.

Walker said the list of 79 includes students who will be doing virtual learning, so it could end up being less.

We asked Walker if she would be able to socially distance students if she only had 40 on her bus, she said no.

Walker isn’t the only driver with a long list, Evelyn Moore who also works for First Student said she has 70 kids on her routes.

“Spacing of the children on the bus, I’m concerned with,” said Evelyn Moore, Bus Driver for First Student.

On top of a packed bus, Walker and Moore said they were told masks are not required.

“We were told to just transport them,” said Walker.

We did reach out to First Student for a comment but we have not yet heard back.

Now, according to LRSD’s plan, they will require students to wear masks on the bus, they will sanitize and they will follow the state guidelines on social distancing.

Hand sanitizer and masks will be available on buses.

These bus drivers are hoping to work with the company and school district to come up with solutions.

“Maybe split some routes up,” said Walker.

“I’m hoping everyone will wear a mask and can do social distancing,” said Moore.

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