Many students rely on getting on a yellow school bus to transport them to and from school.
COVID-19 has changed the way local school districts have handled transportation needs.
Chuck Porter, MVAO transportation director, said with the changes put into place due to the pandemic, a normal 77-passenger bus can now only hold 26 students. Kids sit one per seat, but sometimes siblings sit together.
“Everything has changed so much,” Porter said as there are a lot of extra procedures to take. “It has put a lot of extra stress on everybody.”
Porter said the bus drivers are working hard as they have to disinfect their bus every night. They spray down the buses with hand sprayers that kills bacteria. The buses are also disinfected when returning from sporting events.
MVAO students have to wear a mask anytime they ride the bus, including shuttle buses, route buses, and activity buses.
Porter said they have assigned seats for all bus routes and shuttles. Charter Oak-Ute also has assigned seating.
Three shuttles buses make the trip from Mapleton to Anthon every day. When arriving in Anthon, the buses unload the students one bus at a time to cut down on all the students going into the building at once.
There is one bus of high school students from Anthon that comes down to Mapleton.
At Charter Oak-Ute, Adam Eggeling, superintendent/PK-8 principal, said the school district has made it so kids are split up as equal as they can be on the buses this year.
Masks are strongly recommended, but not mandatory.
“We have our congregation site in Ute to transfer our high school students to one bus and elementary students to other route buses,” Eggeling said. “Family members sit with each other and students in like cohorts sit with each other if needed.”
Roughly 20 to 25 high school students ride the shuttle bus to Mapleton.
Eggeling said things have gone a lot better than anticipated at this point.
“We are doing a good job right now, and the kids and everyone have been great so far,” Eggeling said. “Our teachers, staff, and drivers have all risen to the challenge and will continue to do so.”
Porter said the start of the school year has been hectic, but they are getting through it.
“Everybody is doing a wonderful job,” Porter said. “I’m proud of all the bus drivers, teachers, and everybody all working together.”