“The pandemic has made it very difficult for public schools to meet the transportation needs of students,” said author and corresponding physician Dana Ramirez of the Daughters of the King Children’s Hospital in a press release. “Many districts just don’t have enough buses and drivers to go 3-6 feet or skip rows of buses while still providing rides for all the kids. “
Students, including those who did not take the bus, were tested for SARS-CoV-2 every two weeks by pooled saliva PCR tests. In total, there were over 1,000 students. Two students were seated at each seat of the bus with a distance of 2.5 feet. Some buses were almost full while others were less full. The last two windows have been opened an inch. Seven buses had a helper in addition to a driver. Everyone wore masks.
There have been 37 cases of COVID-19 among students taking buses during this period. As a result, 52 students had to self-quarantine. These exposed students tested negative for the coronavirus and remained asymptomatic. A driver and assistant tested positive for the coronavirus during times of bus traffic, but there was no transmission to students.
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The authors write: “Transmission of COVID-19 may be low during student transportation when mitigation measures, including simple ventilation and universal masking, are used, at minimum physical distances and during most community transmission. high. “
The researchers hope this study will help schools plan for the start of a new school year in the fall. “With more and more students returning to face-to-face teaching, safe transportation to school is a matter of equity, as many families are unable to drive their children to school. every day, ”says Ramirez. “We hope that the model we describe and our data can help demonstrate that school buses can safely operate at normal capacity, even at high COVID-19 case loads in the community.”
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