Update as of March 9, 2022
Effective March 21,2022
Masks will no longer be required for students, staff and visitors in schools, school board offices and on student transportation, including school bus drivers.
- Any driver or student who wishes to continue to wear a mask at times, or consistently on the bus for the remainder of the school year may choose to do so.
- We ask everyone to be respectful to anyone who continues to wear PPE.
- PPE will still be available throughout this school year.
Cohorting and Distancing will no longer be required indoor/outdoors or on student transportation.
- Assigned seating and cohorting will no longer be required on student transportation.
- Drivers or school principals who still wish to continue with assigned seating are welcome to do so.
Remaining Health and Safety Measures in Schools for the 2021-22 School Year
- Operator staff and drivers are still required to self-screen daily using the Ontario School Screening Tool before reporting to work: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening
- The School Screening Tool has been updated with new isolation requirements depending on vaccination status.
Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
- Appropriate hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette continues to be encouraged.
Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfecting
- Schools and school vehicles enhanced cleaning protocols remain in place.
Rapid Antigen Tests
- Rapid antigen tests will still be available for all symptomatic students, drivers and staff.
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. These plans have and will continue to be frequently reviewed and updated as the situation continues to evolve.
TRANSPORTATION DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMICMandatory Masks for LDSB & TBCDSB Kindergarten Students on School Buses (December 2021)
* All references to grades where masks are mandatory on school buses in these documents are superseded by the 'Manadatory Masks for LDSB & TBCDSB Kindergarten Students on School Buses (December 2021)' document above.
When the Government of Ontario 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:
- School vehicles can operate at full capacity
- School vehicles for elementary students should reduce capacity where possible
- The seat directly behind the school bus driver should remain empty
- Non-medical masks required for Grades JK-12 attending LDSB or TBCDSB schools (updated Dec 2021)
- Non-medical masks required for Grade 1-12, and encouraged for Kindergarten attending CSDCAB schools
- Medical masks required and eye protection recommended for school bus drivers
- Students should be assigned seating
- Students in the same household or same classroom cohort should be seated together where practical for contact tracing
- A twice daily anti-viral treatment for high touch surfaces in the bus
- Bus windows should be open for ventilation when feasible
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 (LDSB & TBCDSB Kindergarten to 12; CSDCAB Gr 1-12)(Updated Dec 2021)
- Rules around staying seated, masks and behaviour will be closely managed
- Families must not put students that are ill, on the bus
- 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 has since been further exasperated by Covid-19. 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.