The Beach Bus Company has been transporting kids to and from school for nearly 80 years, but the 2020-2021 school year presents new challenges from the COVID 19 pandemic.

Beach General Manager Robert ‘Mitch’ Mitchell took time out of a very busy morning to speak to KGVO News as the buses were rolling on the first day of school with the MCPS hybrid model.

“We're running students with the last letters A through K two days a week and then the last letters L through Z two days a week,” said Mitchell. “What that allows for is basically half the kids in school and half the kids on the bus at one time and it does promote good social distancing on the school bus and now just about every single bus has allowed one student per seat.”

Mitchell said the drivers and school children will be working together to keep the buses clean and disinfected.

“The drivers also are going to have the windows down,” she said. “They believe that some airflow is a good protection for spreading the virus and asking kids to just not touch everything in sight. You know, they don't need to be up against the windows and doing this and doing that, you know to keep the bus disinfected.”

Look out for those yellow and red flashing lights, give those kids a break out there.

Mitchell said Beach has made arrangements for state of the art disinfectant methods to be utilized.

“We have purchased two of the electromagnetic foggers,” he said. “Now the issue with that is they haven't come in yet. I think everybody in America has ordered electric foggers. But we are disinfecting the school buses entirely two times a day. We have our maintenance staff using the hand disinfectant on the buses when the buses arrive back from their routes. In the mornings, we have a maintenance crew that's going through and completely disinfecting the buses and we're looking forward to seeing those foggers; they say that they're 99.9% efficient in controlling the virus.”

Mitchell said the bus company has done everything humanly possible to keep their students safe while they’re on the bus, but the rest is up to the driving public.

“Look out for those yellow and red flashing lights, give those kids a break out there,” he said. “It's only going to take an extra 15 or 20 seconds to get kids across the road, get them loaded on the bus and moving along. It’s true that we haven't had any buses rolling for five months, so we may be catching some of the general public off guard, but please look out for the school buses; we’re back out rolling, so give those kids a break.”

New COVID 19 bus rules include:

1) All riders must wear a mask, unless they present the driver with a medical release.

2) Practice Social Distancing with only one passenger per seat unless they are siblings.

3) Ride in the same seat every day.

4) Don’t touch windows or other people’s property, so you won’t transfer germs.

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