Clark, Champaign schools encouraging parents to transport children for fall; buses will still be available

Many school districts in Clark and Champaign counties will provide bus transportation with social distancing in place for the fall, but are also urging parents to transport their children if possible.

Clark-Shawnee Local Schools will continue to transport students, but families are encouraged to pick-up and drop-off their children.

“We are distancing as best as we can,” said Superintendent Brian Kuhn. “We cannot guarantee social distancing because of the bus space.”

Kuhn said every bus driver is establishing a seating chart to make sure students sit in the same places, and siblings will sit together. They are also working on best practices related to loading and unloading on the bus.

“The first student will load from the back to the front every other seat, then continue loading from the front to the back every other seat,” Kuhn said. “If every seat is full, then we’ll start to do two people per seat.”

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A face covering is required on buses as physical distancing is challenging and six feet of separation is not possible, Kuhn said.

Springfield City Schools will also continue regular busing and routes with two students per seat and masks will be required. Students with disabilities who have special transportation will also continue that way.

“The district will begin the school year with busing as planned and adjust accordingly based on student needs and how many households continue with virtual learning, which can either increase or decrease students needing transportation,” said Director of Communications Cherie Moore.

Northwestern Local Schools are recommending parent transportation but will still continue to transport students.

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“We are hoping that most parents decide to transport their children. It may be the only way to social distance on the bus. We do not have the buses or bus drivers to social distance the students on the buses and get all of the students to school on time,” said Superintendent Jesse Steiner. “It is not a great solution, but it is the best option we have.”

For those that do ride the bus, wearing a mask is required as there is no way to physically social distance and still transport all students, Steiner said.

Other schools that are following the same guidelines such as seating siblings together, having a seating chart and requiring a face covering include Greenon, Northeastern, Southeastern, Triad and Graham Local Schools, Mechanicsburg Exempted Village and Urbana City Schools.

Tecumseh Local Schools is excluded as they will begin the fall with remote learning, but their initial plans were similar to the other districts.

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