Rules aim to make buses safer

The new rules and regulations on buses due to the pandemic make students feel safer.



The buses line up to pick-up Lakewood students on Thursday Oct. 29 at 2pm.


COVID-19 has affected how we live our lives from the way we socialize, work and even how we get to and from school. The staff and teachers at Lakewood are taking every precaution to make sure everyone who attends in-person school goes home safe, especially the students who have to ride the bus.

School buses have had to go through many changes since the pandemic hit. Bus riders must social distance and wear masks, while bus drivers are wiping seats down and making sure all students enter from back to front and leave from front to back.

Pinellas school transportation coordinator Nancy Fry said she thinks the changes have worked well so far.

“I believe for the most part, it is working well and that most students follow the rules,” she said.

Fry said that because students must have a mask on at all times for safety reasons, they are allowed to lower the windows three inches if the weather permits, to increase air circulation.

Sophomore Liam O’Neill rides a bus from his home in Largo to Lakewood and back. He said that he has not had any safety concerns.
“Honestly, I do feel safe when riding the bus. This is due to the very small number of passengers,” O’Neill said.

The school system must not only worry about the students’ safety, they also must worry about the bus drivers, too.

Richard Contino, who drives elementary, middle and high school kids, said the students and staff are doing well with taking the right steps to keep everyone safe from COVID-19.

“I feel pretty confident. We’ve been doing it now for over two months and I think schools are taking enough precautions,” he said.

Bus riders must sit with just one student per seat, two at the maximum. After every run, Contino and his bus assistants spray down the seats with antiseptic to sterilize them and they also wipe down the handrails and windows.

Lakewood principal Erin Savage said students are following the rules while riding the bus, maintaining the same seat every day and wearing a mask all the times.

“I do believe, like everything else we are experiencing, that if the positive cases grow, the district will have to look at other options,” Savage said.