MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – Masks will be expected on school buses in South Carolina this fall.
According to information from the South Carolina Department of Education, students and drivers are expected to wear masks when on school buses, in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Additionally, ridership will be a maximum of 50% of standard capacity, SCDOE officials announced Thursday. Buses will be loaded back to front, and roof vents and windows will be opened to maximize ventilation.
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“The 2020-2021 school year will require significant changes to keep students and teachers safe. This starts in the morning and ends in the afternoon when students ride the bus to and from school,” a tweet from the S.C. Department of Education said in part.
Gov. Henry McMaster has told all school districts to create plans that give parents an option between face-to-face and virtual learning in the fall.
A number of districts have previously announced plans to push the start of school to Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day.
One Horry County parent is wondering how the school system will put DHEC’s recommendations into effect.
“Normally our girls would get on the bus around 6:45 a.m. to come here for a normal day of school,” said River Oaks Elementary School parent Sean Hoelscher. “We don’t really know what that’s going to look like.”
Hoelscher’s rising first and third graders ride the bus to school on a daily basis.
With Horry County Schools preparing to reopen in the fall, he’s hoping they can continue doing just that.
“We’ll follow the recommendations, but there’s got to be some discussion about getting the kids to school and getting them there safely,” said Hoelscher.
Hoelscher is comfortable with the mask and ventilation requirements, but he’s not sure how the school system is going to implement that capacity change.
”Those buses are full,” said Hoelscher. “We’ve got elementary school kids. That bus, when it leaves our neighborhood on its way here, it’s full, three to a seat. So if you’re looking to reduce the occupancy of the bus down by 50%, how does that work?”
An Horry County School representative said they’ll finalize their back to school plan, which includes transportation at their next meeting on Aug. 3.