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Rules aim to make buses safer


 SNN Staff Writers

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

School buses have had to go through a lot of changes since the pandemic hit, including social distancing, wearing masks, wiping seats down and making sure all student enter from back to front and leave from front to back. Pinellas school transportation coordinator Nancy Fry 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 also thought that because students must have a mask on at all times for safety reasons, they should be allowed to lower the windows 3 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.

Schools not only have to worry about the students’ safety but the bus drivers, too.

Richard Contino, who drives elementary, middle and high school kids, also thinks the students and staff are doing really 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.

Everybody is wearing a mask at all times, with 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.