Public and private schools require the wearing of the mask in the school bus where it is difficult to practice the distancing physical, which would avoid depriving thousands of students of transportation at the beginning of classes this fall.
Quebec will announce Tuesday that the mask will soon be mandatory in public transport. However, this new measure should also influence the transport school.
The scenario back in the classroom unveiled in mid-June provides a physical distance of one meter between the students, which helps to establish a child bench in the school bus.
In several buses transporting elementary students, up to three children could take a seat on each bench, so that the number of students transported will increase from 72 to 23 this fall, is a capacity of up to 32%.
“What is expected as a solution, it is to make the mask mandatory, and to allow us to drop the distance meter. To two students per bench, it would allow us to transport 85% of our customers”, argues Jean-François Houle, director of school transport at the Centre of services school Browsers, on the South Shore of Quebec city.
The application is the same on the side of the quebec Federation of management of educational institutions (FQDE). “It just asks the same rules as in the transit,” explained its president, Nicolas Prévost.
The organisation of school transport represents the “difficulty of major” faced by the schools network in view of the new school year, ” he adds.
The Federation of private educational institutions, it is considered the same as the rules in place will be even more at-risk youth, as they will be more likely to take transit.
“If half of our students can not take the school transport, they will fall back on the public transport, where there will be even less control over their behavior and where it’s going to be even more difficult to trace the contacts if there were any cases of infection,” says its president, David Bowles.
In Longueuil, where the institution is located, headed by Mr. Bowles, it is estimated that 2000 students of the private, will have to take public transportation this fall, not to mention those of the public. “We do not understand at all, there is a mismatch”, he adds.
The Federation of the centres of academic services, indicates that the health rules current pose “an enormous logistical challenge”. Some service centres will have to reduce their offer of transport to school this autumn (see box).
Students will be transported by bus, while others will have to leave early from home and come back later, since the routes will need to be added.
The cabinet of the minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge, it is indicated to be in “constant contact” with the public health authorities “to see if easing is possible”.
“We hope a positive response to this effect from their hand, considering the improvement of the overall epidemiological situation”.
It has not been possible to have comments on this subject from the ministry of Health on Monday.
For its part, the school system hopes for a quick response, if a relaxation had to be decreed.
“If the parameters change, it is not necessary to know in mid-August, because we will not be able to be ready for the start. Usually, it takes us three months to organize the school transport,” says Jérôme L’heureux, head of the school transport service Centre scolaire Beauce-Etchemin, where 13 600 students from 55 municipalities go up usually on the bus yellow each day.
– With the collaboration of Geneviève Lajoie
Projected changes in school bus transportation this fall to meet the hygiene unveiled in mid-June:
Service center school First-Seigneuries
Changes to opening hours:
- First departure at 6: 30 a.m. rather than 7 a.m. for elementary students.
- Back at the end of the day, at 18h for high school students.
- No school transport in the afternoon.
Service Centre scolaire Beauce-Etchemin
- No transportation to school for students located near the school:
- 1.6 km to those of the primary.
- 2 km for the secondary ones.
- Changes to schedules planned to allow for several trips.
Center services school Browsers
- In the case of shared custody, only one address may be served.
- Students who are not enrolled in the school of their district do not have access to school transportation.
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