The countdown is on and Southland Transportation is ready for the start of school.

When 91.5 CochraneNow spoke to Craig Loose, Regional Director of Southland Transportation at the end of July they were finalizing the plans for transporting students under the Phase One Strategy announced by the government. Over the past month, long hours of hard work and training have been put into the effort of getting kids to and from school in a pandemic.

Loose says, “Nobody takes holidays in summer, I’ll tell you that right now. It’s a time where we are focused as soon as the school year ends, we’re focused on the new one beginning. There is a lot of planning and preparation that goes into it, this is an added element, yes, but we feel what we have put in place follows all the guidance the best practices from health authorities. Satisfies the school board expectations, Southland expectations to ultimately do the best we possibly can in upholding our “Safely Home” promise.”

Loose says, “We followed all the guidance and best practices from the government and Alberta Health Services and formulated the plan on what busing is going to look like next week.” The plan includes:

  • Daily personal symptom screening for drivers.
  • Providing drivers with necessary Personal Protective Equipment and training in the usage of:
  • Hand Sanitizers - personal bottles issued to all drivers with a supply on hand for replenishment.
  • Disposable Gloves - used during disinfection and contact with any students or mobility devices.
  • Masks - to be worn at all times when transporting students.
  • Face shields - worn during boarding procedures or when required to be within 2 meters of passengers.
  • Thorough disinfection of the bus surfaces after passengers have disembarked (a minimum of twice daily for AM and PM runs), with cleaning logs in place to monitor.
  • Assigned seating and seating plans on every route to assist with contact tracing.
  • Physical distancing while loading/unloading, including seating students from the back seats to the front seats of the bus and vice-versa.
  • Detailed protocols with each school board, specific to symptomatic students and/or exposure.
  • Detailed training provided to drivers on control methods and responsibilities.

It appears that all the boxes have been checked and Southland Transportation is ready for another school year of getting students “Safely Home”. The added challenge of a pandemic has been met head on and taken in stride with hard work, long hours, and a great deal of planning.