Our Office is open to the public, however, please be patient as we are in a small location and can only handle one family at a time.
Public Office Hours:
- 9:00 am - 11:00 am
- 2:00 pm - 4:45 pm
Note: We must close to clean, disinfect and catch up on other administrative duties.
DESE Guidance on Capacity
With this new guidance and when students come out of cohorts and are riding all together, it is not necessary to change out your bus pass or be concerned there are route time changes. Bus routes have been running as if all students are riding together since school started. This was the best way to keep buses on time and make it less confusing for parents, students and drivers. As always if you have any questions please feel free to contact our office at any time.
Dear BPS Families;
Effective February 11th, 2021 the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) updated the guidance for capacity on school buses. The pandemic changed the way our kids ride on the buses, meaning we added protocols to keep kids safe like limiting the capacity to 23 and reducing it by two thirds. Ventilation, which means bus windows must be open while transporting students, allows a greater air exchange and significantly lowers the risk of transmitting Covid. A study was done at the TH Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University that showed school buses have an extraordinarily high rate of air exchange, due to having the windows open. What is considered a great air exchange is 6 times per hour or higher. Since school buses are moving down the road, the air rate exchange is 21-43 air exchanges per hour, which is greater than hospitals and airplanes.
As a result of this study the bus capacity limit was lifted at the elementary level completely and lifted at the Middle/High level, based on community prevalence. We want to proceed with caution as we navigate this new guidance. To date, we have had no close contacts on buses due to all the protocols we have in place.
New guidance sent out on March 9th, 2021 from DESE included students returning to school five days per week. Please see our website for the timeline of the return dates by grade. Attending five days a week will increase the capacity on buses, for the existing students who ride now. After the return to five days per week, we will take bus rider requests on a case by case basis, pending room on the buses. Please note the capacity on buses will exceed the previously set limit of 23 students per bus. Adding students does shorten the distance between students and might result in close contacts on buses.
The DESE study was done in conjunction with the medical community, in particular, The Mass. Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics approved and endorsed the new guidance.
All other protocols remain in place, such as;
- Ventilation, open windows
- Somewhat Limited seating only adding case by case
- Assigned seats, seating charts, and siblings sit together
- Mask wearing
- Disinfecting all touchpoints and nightly sanitization
- Hand sanitizer on all buses
Students that get added will be assigned a seat that would fill in empty seats first, then every other seat as assigned therefore somewhat limiting contact by having students back to back and siblings in the same seat.
Healthy School Transportation Guiding Principles
We have developed transportation procedures in accordance with DESE Guidance for School Transportation.
Disinfecting/Sanitizing: At a minimum, high-touch surfaces (see examples below) must be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly after each morning route and after each afternoon route using EPA-approved disinfectants. High-touch surfaces could include; handholds, window latches, rails, steering wheels, door handles, shifter, dashboard controls, and stanchions, will be cleaned first and most frequently. Buses will be sanitized nightly using EPA-approved disinfectants.
Hand Sanitizing: Required hand sanitizing upon boarding the bus. All buses will have touchless hand sanitizing units where students will be required to use upon boarding the bus.
Masks/Face Coverings: Required masks/face coverings for all students and adults. All students (PK-12) and adults are required to wear masks on busses, and while waiting at bus stops. Exceptions to mask/face covering requirements may be made for those for whom it is not possible due to medical conditions, disability impact, or other health or safety factors. Also note, the bus drivers could be wearing a full face shield while driving, as some masks cause fogging on those that need glasses to drive – therefore drivers will be using the face shield in order to see clearly.
Screening: Parents/caregivers are expected to assess their child’s health on a daily basis and not send them on the bus if they are ill. Schools will provide information to families in their primary language to support them in conducting this symptom check and families should not send their children to school if they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms. Bus drivers and monitors will receive training from our school nurses on screening for COVID-19 symptoms. In grades K-7, a parent or caregiver must be present when a child boards the bus in the morning. If any student presents with symptoms, the student will not be permitted to board the bus. The parent or caregiver must contact the school nurse before bringing their child to school. If a student becomes ill with COVID-19 during the school day, the student will not be permitted to ride the school bus home.
Ventilation: Bus windows must remain open at all times unless not possible due to extreme weather conditions. Even in cold or rainy weather, bus windows should be kept open at least partially (a couple of inches), if possible.
Physical Distancing: As of February 11, 2021, The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education or DESE, eliminated physical distancing requirements for all elementary children and lifted for Middle and High school, however that group is based on Community Prevalence. To date, we have not had close contacts on buses - however, with increased capacity, there will be increased chances of close contacts on buses.
Cohort Ridership: Groups of students will be kept to the same bus to the greatest extent possible, minimizing contact. **Note routing change** Alternate bus stops will not be available unless it is on the same bus your child rides from home to school or school to home.
**Note Routing Change** In order to try and minimize the time students spend together on buses, bus stops will be moved out of neighborhoods and more centrally located. Be aware, you may not have the same bus stop as in years past.
**Siblings will sit together**