Moffat County School District makes sure buses are safe for students amid pandemic
A young Jarrod Ogden faced a challenging task.
His friend was upset after a fight with his mom and his job was to make him feel better. They were on the way to school. Ogden wasn’t having much impact on his friend because he mostly ignored him.
Then, they got on the school bus.
The upbeat bus driver saw Ogden’s friend was upset and made a funny remark that made them both smile. Ogden said that rejuvenated his friend’s spirit.
“You could see him perk up because he got that positive interaction from an adult. It set him on the right course for the rest of the day,” Ogden said.
“That really resonated with me.”
Ogden, director of facilities and transportation in Moffat County School District, knows the impact of bus drivers. They are the first ones to see the kids in the morning and last ones to see them at the end of the day he said.
As a parent, he said one of the biggest concerns he had when his now graduated kids would ride the bus was feeling certain the district had responsible, vetted drivers. That is definitely the case now in Moffat County he said.
Ogden said he enjoys being a part of the team that is responsible for getting kids safely to school every day.
This year, Moffat County School District has several protocols to keep kids and staff safe on the bus.
Bus drivers, adults, staff, middle school and high school students must wear a mask on the bus. Elementary students are not required to wear masks.
Ogden added that the elementary students are to sit in the front half of the bus and the secondary students in the back half. There will be two elementary students and one secondary student per seat he said.
The bus routes are the same and run at the same times. However, to lower the number of student riders, the secondary schools have gone into cohorts meaning some students go to school on “A” day and others on “B” day he said. Ogden added that has helped decrease the ridership by 50% every day.
The district has requested parents help lower rider numbers as well he said.
“We have asked parents through district communication, if they have the ability to take their kids to school instead of riding the bus, that they do so just to keep our numbers down,” Ogden said.
If students forget their masks, there are extras and every kid receives a squirt of hand sanitizer as they get on the bus he said. Ogden added that bus drivers wipe down and disinfect the surfaces every day.
Ogden has not only trained bus drivers about safety protocols but also the importance of being positive. He knows from experience the impact it can have on children.
“I get to coach my drivers how to treat kids in the most positive aspect and train them that attitudes are contagious,” Ogden said. “If you meet kids with a positive attitude, it probably sets them on the right course for the whole day.”
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