Browser Compatibility Notification
It appears you are trying to access this site using an outdated browser. As a result, parts of the site may not function properly for you. We recommend updating your browser to its most recent version at your earliest convenience.

Covid-19 Information

|
|

Please note that the information on this page was developed based upon the Ministry of Education Guide to reopening Ontario's schools and the Federal Guidance for School Bus Operations during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Renfrew County Joint Transportation Consortium has prepared the below information in collaboration with the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board, Renfrew County District School Board, and the Renfrew County District Health Unit. This information is expected to change and evolve frequently as new information and guidance becomes available.

COVID-19 News Updates:

Guidelines for Bussing During COVID-19 for Transportation Services - August 24, 2020

RCJTC Pandemic Planning Process - August 13, 2020

General Information:

Transportation availability:

Where possible we are asking families to consider active forms of travel (for example, walking and cycling) and private transportation this school year to ease pressure on transportation demand. We will be updating our Students Toolkit and Parents Toolkit with active transportation resources.

If your family will not be using school bus transportation this year please let us know using the Decline Transportation Form so that we can maintain accurate bus lists and assist with contact tracing. 

Preparing students for their trip to school:

Every day prior to leaving the house for the bus stop, families MUST perform a COVID-19 self assessment for all children. Children who are not well are not permitted to ride school buses or attend school.

Students MUST wash their hands thoroughly and/or use hand-sanitizer prior to going to the bus stop and SHOULD sanitize hands again (using hand-sanitizer) before boarding the bus.

Families MUST ensure that each child in grade 4 to 12 have a non-medical mask to wear while riding the bus, unless unable to do so for medical reasons or due to special needs.

Families SHOULD ensure that younger children in junior kindergarten to grade 3 have a non-medical mask to wear while riding the bus, unless unable to do so for medical reasons or due to special needs.

Reviewing basic bus safety rules is also critical, particularly for first time riders. The following resources are available to teach young students school bus safety: Students Toolkit.

At the bus stop:

Parents/guardians and students are expected to do their best to maintain adequate physical distance between family groupings. A distance of 2 metres between families is suggested. 

Reminder: Parents/guardians are responsible at all times for their children's safety and conduct at the bus stop (including walking to and from the bus stop).

Boarding the school bus:
Once the bus arrives, students SHOULD NOT crowd the front door. Rather, students SHOULD line up while maintaining a 2 metre physical distance between them, where possible. No more than one student should be on the stairs at a time. Students SHOULD get to their assigned seat and sit down with their school bag on their lap as quickly as possible.
Driver PPE:

Operators will do their utmost to keep the same driver on the same run, every day.  Drivers will be expected to wear a mask unless they are unable to do so due to a medical condition or because it interferes with their vision.  As students board, drivers may be wearing a mask and face shield or goggles.  This can be frightening for children, who may not recognize their friendly face. Parents/guardians should consider talking about this aspect of the ride with their children before their first trip on the bus, and supervise them at the stop until they board the bus.

Because Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is designed to protect the wearer, drivers of yellow buses and vans will have the option to wear whatever PPE they feel protects them best.  This means drivers may wear their own cloth masks or may be provided medical-grade masks, should they so choose. They may or may not wear face shields or goggles during loading or while responding to a first aid event. These drivers should wear a face shield or goggles, a mask and may wear a paper gown when handling and securing individual students’ wheelchair.

Drivers of wheelchair buses will be required to wear additional PPE, not only to protect themselves, but also to protect each student from cross-contamination. These drivers should wear a face shield or goggles, a mask and a paper gown when handling and securing individual students’ wheelchair.  This is due to the close proximity between the driver and the student, and the higher potential for body fluid transmission.  The driver should use hand-sanitizer before and after handling each student, or wear disposable gloves.

Student non-medical mask requirements:
Respiratory and hand hygiene are critical mitigation strategies that limit the transmission of viruses.

Families MUST ensure that each child in grade 4 to 12 have a non-medical mask to wear while riding the bus, unless unable to do so for medical reasons or due to special needs.

Families SHOULD ensure that younger children in junior kindergarten to grade 3 have a non-medical mask to wear while riding the bus, unless unable to do so for medical reasons or due to special needs.

Number of children per bus:

Per the recommendations in the Ministry of Education Guide to Reopening Ontario's Schools, consortia are being asked to increase utilization of buses and operate closer to capacity. This means that loading capacity will be as normal, with a full load being 48-70 students, depending on the number of eligible students and their grade level.

Buses will be loaded:

  • 3 children to a seat from grade JK through grade 6.
  • 2 children to a seat from grade 7 through grade 12.

Due to the number and frequency of passengers, families should note that school buses are not sterile environments and physical distancing will not be possible aboard the bus.

Mandatory seating plans:

There will be mandatory seating plans on ALL school buses. Students who live in the same household will be expected to sit together, while single riders may be grouped with classmates to the extent possible while still using school buses to their capacity.

Seating plans will be maintained by your School Administrators, and Drivers will be responsible for ensuring students sit in their assigned seat. Students MUST stay in their assigned seat during every ride in order to maintain cohort bubbles to the extent possible. Assigned seating aims to reduce virus transmission and will facilitate contact tracing for public heath.

If the numbers of students on a bus allows, the seat immediately behind the Driver will be left empty. 

Seat assignments may change due to new registered students, however the RCJTC may attempt to limit changes to seat assignments, if necessary.

Cleaning of school buses:

 Cleaning on the bus will be completed twice daily. 

  • In the morning after both runs are completed there will be a high touch area cleaning (e.g. hand rails, tops of seats etc.). 
  • In the afternoon after both runs are completed there will be a deeper cleaning (e.g. hand rails, tops/front/back/bottom of seats, side walls under window, window sills, safety latches etc.). 

Where possible between runs the handrail should be wiped down. It should be noted that school buses are not sterile environments due to the number and frequency of passengers. 

Temporary seats for the 2020-2021 school year:

In previous years the RCJTC would fill available empty seats with students that were not eligible for transportation services. This year in an attempt to limit the number of students on a bus at one time we will NOT be approving temporary seats while there is a requirement to physically distance and cohort students. 

Families who have students who fall within walk distance of their school or who fall outside of the school's attendance boundary will have to make their own arrangements to get their children to/from school. Children at sitter addresses that are not eligible for transportation and students who have a younger sibling who is eligible to take the bus will NOT be approved to have Temporary Seats. 

 If a child becomes sick at school:
Families of a child who becomes sick at school will be expected to make arrangements to pick up their child. Children that are unwell will NOT be permitted to board the bus. All families SHOULD ensure that they have a plan to pick up children from school in the event they become ill and cannot ride the bus home.
 Emergency bus passes: 
There will be NO emergency bus passes permitted while there is a requirement to physically distance, cohort students and facilitate contact tracing. If a child needs travel to/from school from a different address on a temporary or emergency basis, families will be responsible for providing their own transportation.

 

COVID-19 Information, Links & Resources

Renfrew County Status

Ontario Stats

Canada Stats

Ministry of Transport

Transport Canada

Ministry of Education

Public Health Ontario

Sick Kids