City school board indirectly receives feedback from parents on bus issues

0

There have been many complaints and concerns about the current situation with bus transport in schools in the city of Batavia, said board chair Alice Benedict. Parents were pretty clear about the need for three students per seat on Jackson and John Kennedy school buses, but it all went online.

Board meetings were devoid of such vocal talk, she said.

“No parent has ever attended. But there has been a lot of comment on social media,” Benedict said in an interview on Saturday. “We are criticized for the choices made, but no one took the time to come talk to us, unfortunately that’s something we have no control over.

A shortage of drivers at the district bus operator, Student Transportation of America, has in turn meant fewer buses per trip. To accommodate all students needing transportation, they have been assigned three per seat, she said.

“There is nothing the school district can do about it, other than asking parents to get their children off the bus and drive them to school themselves,” she said. “We are still talking to the bus company… for me personally as a member of the board of directors, (Company administrator) Mr. Rozanski is doing his best. They just don’t have the bodies to lead.

Batavia is far from the only one facing this dilemma. ABCnews.go.com says schools across the country, from Pennsylvania and Virginia to Missouri, Ohio and Texas, have reported similar shortages. The Savannah-Chatham County public school system in Georgia reported a 30% decrease to more than 110 drivers at the start of this school season, the website says. Covid is to blame for the lack of drivers, Paul Abbott, executive director of transportation for the district, told ABC News.

The city’s school district is running out of four buses, resulting in delays, late arrivals and the setup of three per seat. STA operates more than 16,000 vehicles for more than 300 school districts, according to its website, and is committed to providing our customers with the highest level of safe and reliable transportation solutions available. The company’s public relations department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Students are required to wear masks on the bus, and they can take brief mask “breaks” if the weather is nice and the windows are open, Benedict said. Many of them were told by their parents to wear the mask for the entire duration of the bus ride and not to take them off at all, she said.

As for other virus-related measures, Covid testing equipment was provided to the district by the Genesee County Health Department, Acting Superintendent Scott Bischoping said at the council meeting on Thursday. Students with potential symptoms of the Covid-19 virus can be tested during the day.

The health ministry will notify school officials if someone tests positive, and contact tracing will begin to investigate who the infected person had contact with prior to being tested, he said, “and to determine if a quarantine is necessary”. The total quarantine would be 10 days, minus the days already passed before diagnosing the Covid case, he said.

Having access to on-site testing and wearing masks are two methods of maintaining a healthy environment, he said.

“Our families want our children in school as much as possible,” he said.

The next board meeting is scheduled for October 21 at 6 p.m. at the Batavia High School Library, 260 State St.

A related question-and-answer session was posted on the district’s website on Thursday to clarify its protocols regarding the Covid-19 guidelines. It is stated below:

September 16, 2021

Dear BCSD Parents and Guardians,

Over the past few days, we have received a few questions from parents about the protocols regarding our COVID-19 guidelines that we want to clarify for the whole community.

We appreciate questions and will continue to update you as they arise.

Q: Are there virus outbreaks in our buildings?

A: Although cases of the virus were reported to us by the Genesee County Health Department, only a small number of those cases resulted from spreading in our buildings. Most of the reported cases are due to the virus spreading outside of school, and families have taken the necessary steps to self-quarantine. While this situation may change, we will report any significant issues directly to families.

With the aim of providing transparent information on reported COVID-19 cases throughout the Batavia city school district, in the future, every Monday we will publish the number of positive cases of students and staff. reported the previous week on our website: BataviaCSD.org.

Q: How will families be notified of cases within schools?

A: We work in conjunction with the Genesee County Health Department which provides counseling when there is a positive case in one of our district buildings.

Once a positive case is identified, the health service determines who that child or staff member has been in contact with. From there, health ministry officials determine what action is warranted (i.e. testing, quarantine, etc.).

You will be contacted directly by the health department if your child has been in contact with another person who has tested positive, and they will work with you to determine next steps.

Q: Are there three students per seat on our buses?

A: Yes, there are three students per seat on our Jackson and John Kennedy bus routes in many cases. While we would have preferred to have enough buses to have separate bus routes for each building with fewer students on each bus, our transport contractor was unable to provide the necessary buses due to the shortage of nationwide bus drivers.

Q: What are you doing to try to get more buses?

A: We will continue to work with our bus contractor STA to find more opportunities to increase the number of buses serving our district, including through contracting out. But to date, we don’t have a solution in place.

Q: Is it true that students are allowed to take mask breaks on buses?

A: We have advised our bus drivers to allow students to take brief mask breaks, especially in hot weather. These breaks are allowed (but not mandatory) to prevent students from overheating. If the weather permits, we also open the windows of our buses.

As a parent, you can certainly advise your child not to remove their mask during these breaks.

As a reminder, if a student or staff member exhibits symptoms of COVID, they should not attend school that day and should contact the building nurse immediately.

Please contact your child’s principal if you have any further questions or concerns.

Truly,

Scott bischoping

Acting Superintendent

Share.

Comments are closed.