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What will buses look like this school year? Leander ISD walks us through sanitation and rules

Leander ISD plans to bring back kids to school campuses on Sept. 8 and said bus transportation will be an option.

AUSTIN, Texas — As some wonder if it's even safe to send kids back to school, Central Texas districts are facing another challenge: how to get kids on buses. 

Leander ISD said it will allow kids on buses, but they have strict rules.

"We already have a lot of drivers back at work and we're only giving them some training and some instruction on how to clean and disinfect buses, and preparing them on what to expect when students return on the bus and how they'll be seated, etc.," said Myron Wilson, LISD director of transportation.

RELATED: How teachers can protect themselves from the spread of COVID-19

Wilson said kids will get on the bus and sit one per chair, which usually holds two students. Bus drivers are asked to thoroughly disinfect seats between rides and will have spray disinfectant and paper towels on hand. Bus driver and trainer Terry Williams said it's a small price to pay to see his kids again. 

Credit: John Gusky
Leander ISD bus driver John Archer cleans his bus.

"I'm excited. I miss my kids. Being away from our kids for this length of time is so new. We want to get back to work. We want to get back to seeing them. And we know that it's an unusual year for us. A lot of trepidation, a lot of fears. But, in all, I think we're ready. We want to see the kids who want to provide the best environment and also one that's very safe as well," said Williams.

Williams has been driving kids to school with Leander ISD for 10 years and said he wouldn't have it any other way. 

RELATED: Leander ISD nutrition services member dies from COVID-19 complications

"They've completely changed me in every way," said Williams. "We're totally committed."

Williams said he'll do what he has to, even if it means making masks and cleanings mandatory.

Wilson said if you can drive your kids to school yourself, Leander ISD highly recommends to do so. But if you need bus transportation, they're limiting capacity.

"We'll be asking the parents to self-screen before they send the students to school, which is a recommendation of the district as well, because we will not be doing any, you know, temperature checks or anything like that. But we'll be leaning on the parents to self-screen students before they send the school each and every day," said Wilson.

High-touch areas will get more attention when it comes to cleaning, said Wilson. Places like handrails, the steering wheel and the top of seats will be cleaned more than any other areas. 

Credit: John Gusky
Leander ISD bus driver John Archer cleans his bus.

Wilson said the school district has more drivers signed up compared to last year and hopes more will consider signing up. 

"The unknown for many sets in, but for me, I'm ready. I want to see the kids and we just really want to provide, again, the best learning environment that they can," said Williams. "I think overall the reception is very good. Everyone is motivated and the collaboration that's taking place is amazing because the drivers are really thinking through the process. What are the high-touch areas? What are we going to sanitize every single day?" 

Bus stop information for the regular 2020-21 school year will be available soon. If you're interested in applying to become a bus driver, click here

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