Lancaster County schools release COVID-19 bus safety plans, other counties to follow

SC bus limitations could impact school day

LANCASTER, S.C. (WBTV) - A local school district has rolled out its transportation plan. Lancaster County school district told parents to expect major changes.

The Lancaster County Transportation and Safety Director told me the coronavirus is fluid so the plans are too, but this gives parents an idea what to look for.

SCDHEC told the districts buses could only be half full. Vaughn says the state could not give anymore buses to the district so this plan works with what they have.

To accommodate DHEC’s guidelines without extra buses, Vaughn says schools will start later. Elementary and middle start 20 minutes later and high school starts almost an hour later. Vaughn says these time shifts will help them accommodate longer routes.

“We just felt like it was absolutely necessary to preserve the right for all children to ride school buses because if we don’t kids won’t be able to get to school,” says Vaughn.

The plan reminds students summer is winding down, but the Acevedo kids are taking full advantage of every minute. Their mom Kristel Acevedo is already looking ahead to getting them to school.

“I saw they were changing how the bus was going to be running. I didn’t know if there were going to be masks or only one kid per seat,” says Acevedo. “When I heard all that I had already pre-determined in my mind that I would rather drop them off at school and pick them up.”

The bus plans still affect those parents driving their kids to and from school. Longer routes mean school will start 20 minutes later in elementary and middle schools. In high school, students won’t come to school until an entire hour later.

“They need to ride school buses. There’s a reason they ride buses. That’s why we changed the time to allow us to reduce the capacity but maintain the same level of service in the past,” says Vaughn.

Many parents expressed frustrations on the district’s Facebook page. Those ranging from kids getting out of school too late or not being able to get them to school on time. Vaughn understood those frustrations, but says without being able to buy more buses, this is how the district accommodates the changes.

”For us to be able to serve kids if we have in person classes as we anticipate this is the only option we had,” says Vaughn.

On the buses, Vaughn says drivers will clean before and after each route. Drivers go through daily health screenings and wear masks. Students are also encouraged to wear masks.

Lancaster County is the only district in our area with a transportation plan. Chester County, Chesterfield County, and all four districts in York County say they’ll release all the information at once sometime in July.

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