Busing Update pt. 2 (dress warmly)
Contents: Ventilation, Capacity, Mask Exempt, Cleaning, Precautions at bus yards, link to D75 video
See earlier email or http://pistnyc.org/busing-update-pt-1-answer-the-phone.aspx for info on Communication (finding routes!), and First Day on the Bus. [Parte de aquella informacion se encuentra en espanol a https://twitter.com/pistnyc/status/1307740521448775680/photo/1]
A collective of school busing advocates gathered this info. We plan another virtual check in meeting on the evening of Wednesday Sept. 23 to see how things are going.
Ventilation - Dress kids for open windows
DOE says “Buses will operate with the windows open whenever possible and with the air system on the bus in the non-recirculating mode.”
OPT drafted further guidance with the exceptions being heavy rain/snow.
Drivers say they were told to set to Defrost setting for fresh air, open the windows and the hatch.
Capacity - speak up if you experience violations of 25% rule
Typical mini wagon will have 4 riders + attendant + driver. Any child’s bus Para and/or nurse is supposed to be counted within the 4. Note: we have heard of mini wagon drivers who on Friday were issued 6 masks + sanitizer, presumably for tomorrow.
The union was told, if the bus is at 25% capacity and there is another kid who needs to get on, the driver must stay there and call the company, await direction from DOE via company.
All companies have a shape quota around 5% (to cover driver/attendant absences, accidents and hopefully the situation above).
Since March 157 drivers retired, but as one example, Reliant has 75 more drivers than routes, so it should be possible for OPT to create new routes [to split schools or maintain 25%]
No “Double runs”: As of Thursday, nobody was officially given 2 back to back morning routes + 2 back to back afternoon routes. We want to keep it that way because another group would mean more exposure; proper cleaning in between groups would be difficult.
Mask Exempt - Potential for confusion
About kids who can't wear a mask, DOE says they still get transportation, does not elaborate: https://www.schools.nyc.gov/school-year-20-21/district-school-reopening-plan-submission-to-nysed/transportation
ATU understanding is to keep that child distanced from the others, and make sure the others wear their masks.
Training handout we saw from 1 company says not allowed on without face covering, but seems to be written for gen ed drivers going to stops.
School does or should know who these children are. Mayor announced face shields going to bus co’s but we couldn’t confirm.
OPT on Friday drafted something saying the child will need a Doctor’s note to be mask exempt; That is not mentioned in the update they posted since then at https://www.schools.nyc.gov/school-life/transportation/transportation-overview/whats-new
but it doesn’t hurt to alert child’s doctor and ask school principal for updates.
The workers have always cleaned the bus after the a.m. and p.m. dropoffs. Now they are being told things like: keep a mask on for cleaning; vacuum is better than a broom. We have no data on availability of vacuum cleaners or dustbusters for this.
Union verified the first batch of cleaning supplies are at the bus yards.
OPT director Fitzpatrick told parents There is a 2 phase cleaning that will happen daily of wipedown and then spray.
PIST is seeing different versions of who thinks who is going to clean what and how often.
Mr. Fitzpatrick emphasized random inspections; that is not new. He estimated ‘every company once a week’ so we should hold them to that, and seek to have parent/worker witnesses.
Safety precautions at school bus companies
Ahead of Sept 8, All companies covered by the union now have one way in and one way out for reporting in the morning and the drivers are assigned different times to report.
Mask must be worn on the properties. Also properties must be equipped with washing stations with soap and water and or sanitizer.
Everyone knows to monitor their temperature/health and call in sick if feverish/ill.
Some but not all companies have other measures:
--an app for signing in by phone/virtually so people don’t have to go inside.
--attendants being picked up by their route’s driver so they can avoid mass transit.
Unlike schools, the bus yards are not targeted by NYC for 10-20% random Covid 19 testing.
We would argue that best safety practices should be extended to all bus yards equally.
By the way, ATU bargained since June for this training, etc. to begin https://atu1181.org/news/atu-local-1181-1061-proposals-for-impact-bargaining-6-22-20/
Video of District 75 Council Sept 4 meeting on busing, NYCSA account, and related matters https://www.facebook.com/CECD75/videos/362616455125980