Pandemic Transportation Information and Updates
Student Transportation Services of Thunder Bay serves the busing needs of Conseil Scolaire de District Catholique des Aurores Boréales, Lakehead District School Board and Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board. During the COVID-19 pandemic we have been attentive to, and collaborated with Ontario’s Provincial Government, the Ministry of Education, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit, our three School Boards and our two local school bus operators as we worked toward a plan to to ensure the safety of our students and drivers during the upcoming school year. Many options were explored as we moved through this process in recent months.
OPT-OUT OF TRANSPORTATION
We understand every family has a different comfort level when it comes to the COVID-19 Pandemic. If you do not intend to use the school bus at the start of the school year or if you have alternate means for transporting your child to and from school and would be willing to remove your child from transportation to allow more space for students have no other means, please fill out this opt-out form. This will also assist with the necessity to create seating plans for contact-tracing purposes. If you require transportation in the future, you will have to reapply.
TRANSPORTATION DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
When the Government of Ontario recently decided that our local school boards would resume school 5 days a week and that in order to support this, we may be required to increase the utilization of buses to operate closer to capacity, STSTB began to plan accordingly. The Ministry of Education along with the Medical Officer of Health set out guidelines for our School Boards and STSTB to follow to provide busing for those families wishing to use it. Updates can be expected as we continue forward.
At its core, these guidelines either include or have been updated to the following:
- Non-medical masks required for Grade 1-12, and recommended for Kindergarten
- Medical masks required and eye protection recommended for school bus drivers
- A twice daily anti-viral treatment for high touch surfaces in the bus
- Assigned seating with siblings sitting together where practical for contact tracing.
- Bus windows will be open for ventilation, weather permitting
What can bus riding students expect?
- The bus route will not change due to the pandemic
- They will not get to choose their seat – it will be assigned
- Students must be masked properly (Grade 1-12)
- Fewer students than in prior years will be on the bus
- Rules around staying seated, masks and behaviour will be closely managed.
- Families must not put students on the bus if they are ill.
- Loading and unloading will take more time
- Students must physically distance at the bus stop.
- Windows will be open, when possible
What can families expect?
- Prior to the pandemic drivers were in short supply and there may be times when a driver is unable to operate their route. Runs may be delayed getting to the school or stop. Runs may be cancelled if a replacement driver is not available. Families should be prepared to provide alternate means of transportation should this occur.
- Drivers will self-screen for illness before operating the bus
ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION RESOURCES
Students who walk (or bike, or skateboard, or scooter ride) to their school gain so many benefits from this daily physical activity. Click Here to check out some of our resources to help families plan their active route to school. For those who live a little farther away from school, parking just a five to ten minute walk away from the school can help ease congestion around the school and provide families with an opportunity to get a few minutes of extra exercise while making it easier for everyone to stay physically distant.