BRAZOS COUNTY, TEXAS — Many parents in the Brazos Valley rely on school buses to keep their precious cargo safe on their way to school.
Transportation leaders in Bryan-College Station are leading this new year with safety and sanitation a priority.
"I am worried about kids, but I am confident in our school system," A.J. Renold, a Bryan ISD parent said.
Renold is a Bryan ISD parent who has an 8th and 9th grader, one of which rides the bus.
"I really stress that if they catch COVID, if they have to stay home from school, it's going to put them very behind. I hate to see that for any student and that's just more reason to wear those masks," Renold said.
Masks are required on school buses, and leaders in transportation in Bryan and College Station are doing everything in their power to make sure the ride is safe, with cleaning and preventative measures.
"We are continuing very similar to where we were last spring." Hector Silva said, director of transportation with College Station ISD. "We have a hospital-grade cleaner that we use that should kill 99.99 percent of all viruses, including any variants of COVID-19. That will be sprayed on buses on a daily basis,"
"They use the hand sanitizer as they get on and then with the federal transportation mask mandate still in effect, we will still be wearing masks on the bus as well," Warren Lanthier, director of transportation with Bryan ISD said.
With deep cleaning of high traffic areas, and masks required, this parent's mind rests a little easier.
"You can't really social distance on a bus... because of that... it makes me feel better about my kids riding school transportation as they are required to wear masks," Renold said.
Of course, COVID-19 is front and center, but so should the increased awareness of school buses in general, this parent stresses.
"....distracted driving is a huge issue with everybody. Making sure you are aware and looking out for the school buses and those stops signs... that makes me nervous. School buses being rear-ended or kids getting hit," Renold said.
Especially while folks are coming out of summer and are seeing more buses running.
"I want to reiterate we will be on the roads again and we will be stopping for children. We need to go back to realizing there will be a lot of children walking and going to be boarding buses, so keep an eye out for us," Silva said.
And wearing masks keeps drivers safe too...
"That school bus isn't driving itself. Somebody is behind the wheel. We need them to be behind the wheel and they are a critical part of the success of our students," Renold said.
Back to school this year means not only sharing the road, but staying COVID safe too.
"To our transportation staff and our buses drivers, I just want to say a huge thank you," Renold said. "I have tremendous respect for both College Station and Bryan ISD school districts. I truly believe that they have everyone's best interests at heart. They are in an interesting position in trying to keep everyone safe and I believe they will do everything they can to make sure they are following guidelines and the law and everything."
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