TECUMSEH, Kan. (KSNT) – Leaders in the Shawnee Heights school district are rolling out new health and safety measures for school buses ahead of the first day of school. The district starts hybrid learning Sept. 1.

More than 2,200 kids take the school bus in U.S.D 450 each year. That’s nearly two-thirds of all students, but this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, buses will only be allowed to run at a third of their capacity.

Interim Superintendent Matt Hirsch said those restrictions were a big factor in the reopening plan.

“Since we can only put about 22 to 24 kids on a bus that caused us to go hybrid learning,” Hirsch said. “Kids will be coming two days a week, whether it’s Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday so about half of our kids will be in district each day.”

Hirsch said this hybrid plan has made creating bus routes more difficult than usual. He said they started by splitting students up by last name and then adjusted from there.

“We started out by looking at half the alphabet, so A through K was one half and L through Z was the other two days,” Hirsch said. “Then the schools got a hold of that and they are like we need these siblings together but they have different last names.”

Hirsch said they also reached out to families and made some adjustments based on child care availability.

Regardless of which days kids go to school, there will be new rules on the school bus:

  • There will be hand sanitizer at the front of the bus.
  • Kids will have to wear a mask.
  • Only one student will be allowed in each seat, unless they are family.
  • Students will fill up the back seats first, and then the front. Then the front seats will unload first to limit interaction.
  • Buses will be sanitized after every route.

Hirsch said the district is still looking for a couple more bus drivers for this school year. It’s a part-time job. If you are interested, click here to apply.