WSFCS bus drivers practice routes ahead of potential return to class

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Though the state of the return to in-person learning remains in limbo for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools students, bus drivers are preparing themselves for the possible return in the next three weeks.

On Wednesday, school bus drivers began to practice their school routes for the students who need a ride back to in-person learning. 

Drivers also used this time to label any concerns they observed while on their routes. 

“It’s our intent by conducting these test runs and simulating student passengers’ stops to create awareness and improve safety when we start transporting students,” Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Chief Operations Officer Lauren Richard said. 

As drivers started their routes, Lenithia Tillman, a driver since 2014, discovered areas to enhance protection. 

“We don’t have a shield, we don’t have barriers, who don’t have anything,” said Tillman, as she demonstrated how “little social distancing” is possible as students step through the doors. 

“There is only a foot of room between the child and me when they step on the bus, we need a plexiglass barrier,” she said.

Concerns she also raised on her routes are the additional responsibilities drivers will now juggle. 

That includes sanitizing the buses after each route, they will oversee providing their own gloves if desired and will have a bus monitor onboard to ensure students wear their masks and do not touch one another. 

“You cannot control every kid on this bus when it’s dark on that first route,” said Tillman, of the first few stops in the morning. 

For her, she hopes the school takes the delay to address their concerns.

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