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Back-to-school bus safety: ‘Our goal is to have a safe school opening’

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 6:27 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Parents, we know you’re making last-minute preps before the new year, and so are our local school districts. From the classroom to the school bus, we’re on your side with what you need to know before Thursday.

Officials with both Richmond and Columbia counties say getting their students to and from school safely is one of the top things on their list. We spoke with one bus driver who says he can’t wait to see his students again.

Meet Mr. Greg, a retired army vet and bus driver for the past seven years.

“Trying to be a positive role model for them and being with them every day believe it or not kind of keep me young,” said Greg.

Getting his 52 kids to and from school safely especially during the pandemic is his top priority.

“Put your child on the bus and feel confident that your child is going to get to school safely,” he said.

The Georgia Highway Patrol says buses are actually 70 times safer for students getting to school than in a car. Some schools are taking the extra steps to make them even safer during the pandemic.

“Our goal is to just have a safe school opening and to make adjustments as needed,” said Dr. Ken Bradshaw, Richmond County superintendent.

In Richmond and Columbia counties, masks are required on the bus, siblings will sit with each other, distancing will take place as much as it can and some buses will have seating charts, but it all depends on the route and number of students on each bus.

“They knew they had to wear a mask and they would respect that and wear their mask,” said Greg.

Columbia County buses also have new needlepoint bipolar ionization units. That basically helps purify the air which can help protect against any virus including COVID-19.

“I’m looking forward to seeing kids who are back who didn’t attend school last year. Really excited to be seeing them,” he said.

In Aiken County, masks are not required on the bus or in the classroom, but there will still be enhanced cleaning protocols.

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