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Are you sure your school buses will be safe for children to travel when the schools reopen again?
The Coronavirus that has brought the world to a standstill is spread through air and contact.
One of the worst facts about the COVID-19 virus is its ability to spread at such a fast rate. Second, children are even more susceptible to this deadly virus. Both these facts make it very important to ensure that you don’t just “clean” the school buses, but completely “sanitize” them.
Before we look into ways to sanitize the bus, let’s first identify the high contamination areas.
They are places on the buses where children are most likely to be holding on to. The stability bars that run through the middle of the bus, the handlebars on the back of the seat, windows, window ledges, and the seats.
The other areas are headrests, seatbelts, luggage racks, door handles, and armrests.
Each surface is made of different materials and may have the virus for different stretches of time. So, it is important to do a deep sanitization of these high contamination areas.
Clean the Bus
Before you sanitize the bus, you need to first clean the floor and the windows.
While cleaning the floor, preferably use a handheld vacuum cleaner that sucks in the dust rather than a broom that could spread the dust in the air.
If you have a cleaner that works on different surfaces, then you can use it to clean the vinyl seats and window ledges as well.
It would be even better if you install a HEPA filter in the vacuum cleaner to remove microbes and allergens from the surfaces.
You can also use soap and water to wash the floor. But then make sure that there is no waterlogged in the grooves and corners of the floor.
If you’re in a location where the water may not dry out soon, preferably use only the vacuum cleaner.
The bus may have a carpet or a rug on the floor, drapes on the windows, and covers on the seats. Remove all these fabrics and wash them separately in detergent and hot water. You can also add disinfectant during the final rinse. Make sure the fabrics are completely dry before you put them in the bus again.
Clean Air conditioners or Heater vents
If you have installed an air conditioner or heater on the school bus, then carefully clean the vents. First, wipe the vents with a damp cloth to remove the dust and then spray the disinfectant.
Disinfect the surfaces
Now that the basic cleaning is done, the final step is to do a complete sanitization of all the surfaces. While doing this, you need to pay more attention to the high contamination areas.
Use an alcohol-based sanitizer to disinfect all the surfaces. You need to first wipe all the surfaces with a clean cloth dipped in the sanitizer. After that, you can also spray the disinfectant inside the bus.
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Tips to Sanitize the School Bus
- It is best to sanitize the school bus before and after every trip
- You can use 0.1% sodium hypochlorite (bleach) solution for disinfection
- While cleaning, always go from the least soiled to the most soiled surface
- Wear gloves while sanitizing the bus and discard or wash thoroughly after use
- Encourage students to wash their hands with soap/use sanitizer before they climb on the bus
- Make sure the students maintain the “social distance” when they’re seated in the bus
- Ensure children wear face masks when they get on the bus and keep it on even while they’re traveling
- Add the bus sanitization checking option to your school bus tracking software to ensure that this process is not missed
Cleanliness and safety are two important parameters of student transport. Make it mandatory to do a deep sanitization of all your school buses to ensure safe and hygienic transport for your school students.
Driving is one of the key areas where focus and concentration matters a lot and the same is more critical in the case of school bus drivers. Many accidents and fatalities are reported daily worldwide due to careless driving and one of the main reasons pointed out was distracted driving. An intentional or unintentional distraction from the part of the driver can cause loss of lives. That is why it is important for school management and authorities to come up with stringent measures to minimize the possibilities of distracted driving and assure a safe ride for students.
The reasons for distractions are many that include searching for the objects that dropped from hands, adjusting the mirror of the vehicle when driving, using mobile phones, eating or drinking and smoking. Students misbehaving in the bus can also easily divert the attention of the driver.
Here we are sharing a few of the important strategies, measures or tips that can help to combat distracted driving and thus save lives.
- Always have Extra Adults onboard
Passengers can do a lot, to help the drivers to do their job peacefully without causing much distraction.
However, when passengers are students, it may not be possible always. That is why it is important to have one or two other adults on board who can take care of the student’s needs and keep them at peace.
This helps the driver concentrate on his job and avoid any mishaps.
- Make Adjustments Before Starting the Bus
Drivers should be advised to make proper preparation and adjustments before starting a trip.
This can include adjusting mirrors, setting the destination point, and checking traffic ahead in maps or having enough water.
Fasten the seat belt and put in the sunglasses if needed. Also, see that sound system and climate controls are checked and seating is proper before the bus hits the road.
- Provide Big Screens For Map Reference
It is quite common for drivers to check the maps in case they miss out on any routes or to check the upcoming traffic to plan the ride accordingly.
However, when they use their handsets or GPS devices for the purpose, the likelihood of distraction is more. To overcome the risk, schools can provide tablets with big screens to replace mobile phones.
- Ban Cell Phone Usage while Driving
It is quite common among some drivers to use cell phones to check messages or make calls during the drive which can always turn out as a distraction. Schools can decide to ban mobile usage while driving as the best solution.
However, they can be allowed to use it in case of emergencies, but only once the bus is parked on a roadside. Cameras can make things easy for schools to have a check on the same.
- Use Hands-Free Technology
Some schools help drivers by taking important calls midway or adjust the music volume or check the maps using hands-free technology.
It may not be possible to stop the bus all of a sudden to the roadside to check all this manually when there is heavy traffic or with bigger buses.
However, even these options can turn out as distractions as they lack the alertness when the focus gets shifted.
- Adopt a School Bus Safety Code or Code of Conduct
Just like in classrooms, students should be provided with a basic code of conduct which helps them to set boundaries to their acts when on the bus.
A misbehaving kid can distract a driver that can put lives of everyone on the bus at risk.
Those violating the rules can be given progressive punishments to make them aware of the importance of behaving well in bus. Authorities can adopt seating charts and post rules on each bus that help the students to get reminded of the dos and don’ts.
- Arrange Training and Role-Playing Sessions for Drivers
Rather than giving advice, conduct training sessions with role plays, common types of distractions, and ways to overcome them to make them more aware. This can help drivers to boost their performance level.
- Monitor Driver Behavior
After all, everybody is a human being and we cannot expect cent percent commitment and discipline from everyone without giving an external push.
That is why it is important to employ some means to monitor driver behavior during the trips.
Camera surveillance or similar options can help schools to keep track of their behavior.
When drivers have it in mind that they are being monitored, it comes naturally from them to go by the code of conduct and stop them from involving in any unsafe deeds.
- Implement Technology to Improve Safety
A combination of tactics is always a good strategy and that is why many schools are even getting the assistance of technology to improve driver safety.
Safety engineers have introduced systems to help drivers to avoid crashes.
The side and rear vision cameras are built to help them to handle the blind spots. The microwave technology is another option to give an indication of objects or persons behind when bus is in reverse mode.
- Assure Drivers get adequate Rest and Eat well
The proper well being of the driver is important and that has a lot to do with their focus and attention during the driving.
Make sure that they get enough rest before they drive to avoid sleepy drives. Similarly, see that they eat well and stay hydrated and keep up good health which will boost their performance level.
Also Read: How many seats are there in a school bus?
- Awareness is the Key
Safety behind the wheel needs more importance at any given time even when there are some distractions that are not in the driver control.
Experts say that awareness is always the key and the lack of proper messaging from authorities or the absence of basic safety knowledge among drivers are creating problems most of the time.
Schools should take initiatives to arrange some awareness programs for their drivers to ensure possible safety measures.
Here are some important Safety Tips for Drivers
- While driving, pay complete attention to it, and never give an ear for distractions, focus should be completely on driving only and let nothing else to distract you.
- Use mirrors to scan the road and watch out for pedestrians or cyclists.
- Never let your electronic gadgets distract you, unless you have an emergency.
- Avoid multitasking and stop the bus aside if you have something urgent.
- It is always good to observe traffic defensively and analyze the possible things that other drivers might do
- Carefully visualize the route before you start and plan for what you are about to do
- Make sure that there is enough braking space between the bus and other vehicles in front of the bus
- Always try to maintain a safety circle around the bus
- Keep on reminding yourself that you have an added responsibility of transporting a group of students
- Always stay focused and drive mindfully despite whatever personal problems trouble you.
There can be external distractions, of which you may not have any control. However, in most cases, lack of training of the driver in handling the distractions was found out as the reason for mishaps. School authorities can definitely help drivers to be more alert on many instances such as by updating them on the scheduled road works or construction zones.
According to some statistics, about 100s of people are injured and 9 people die every day on America’s roads.
The case may not be very much different in other parts of the world. Just imagine how can a careless mistake compromise with a person’s right to live and spoil his/her family’s dreams.
Accidents can happen anytime to anyone but everyone should do their part to minimize the cases that happen due to carelessness.
That is why it is important for school authorities to consider doing their part to minimize the likelihood of distracted driving.
Driving is an impulse for the person who drives. It is often a challenging situation in our present situation due to the road traffic and the people who break the traffic rules and regulations. To an extent, the intensity of this challenge can be resolved with certain personalized driving apps in smartphones.
Here, let us delve more into such driving apps:
- Driver mode
- Rating: 4.2
- Installs: 1,000,000+
- Size: 21M
- Last updated: April 22, 2020
This driver app simplifies to manage calls and messages while driving. With its personalized features, drivers can in fact answer safely to the calls or the messages they hear.
- Reply to a message or text using voice commands
- Ignore calls or messages in “Do Not Disturb” mode
- Set up text message auto-replies
- Android Auto:
- Rating: 4.1
- Installs: 100,000,000+
- Size: 19M
- Last updated: April 14, 2020
This is a smart driving companion that lets you to stay focused and connected with the help of a Google Assistant.
- Set reminders, get updates on the news, and check last night’s score.
- Get updates on your route, ETA, and hazards in real-time.
- Avoid distractions while driving by setting a custom do not disturb message while driving.
- Voice GPS Driving:
- Rating: 4.9
- Installs: 500,000+
- Size: 12M
- Last updated: March 2, 2020
This driver app helps to get directions with voice navigation, turn by turn navigation and find nearby places on GPS maps. It plans trips and execute it on time.
- Helps in Navigation using accurate maps
- Keep track of live traffic conditions in the city with the GPS route finder
- GPS speedometer, Odometer and weather updates.
- Rating: 4.0
- Installs: 1,000,000+
- Size: 46M
- Last updated: September 14, 2019
AutoMate is one of the best driver apps that make common services available to while you’re driving. With AutoMate, you get the right information at the right time, so you can focus on the road.
- Hands-free gestures
- Set AutoMate as a launcher while it is running
- Startup options to make AutoMate even more effortless to use
- Rating: 3.7
- Installs: 100,000+
- Size: 39M
- Last updated: March 5, 2020
DriveU is India’s most popular on-demand private service driver app provider. It is built around the belief that when people are treated better, they provide better service.
- Easy Onboarding
- Driver Safety
- RTO Exam
- Rating: 4.5
- Installs: 1,000,000+
- Size: 11M
- Last updated: February 18, 2020
RTO Exam, also known as Driving Licence Test app is an ultimate guide for any aspirant appearing for Learning Licence Test.
- Question Bank for free
- Practice questions available
- Unlimited exams
- Rating: 4.8
- Installs: 500+
- Size: 13M
- Last Updated: March 24, 2020
Allie – Handsfree driving assistant cum driver app, that helps you avoid distracted driving. It helps you to stay focused and connected on the road.
- Automatically detects driving and launches the Drive mode
- Share your real-time location with your family
- Get your Driving Score for every trip.
- Driver Mode Shortcut
- Rating: 4.6
- Installs: 1,000+
- Size: 182k
- Last Updated: September 19, 2018
This driver app is a simple Shortcut just like the Driving Mode Widget, but now that it is listed as an Application you can use it for other tasks too.
- AD free
- No permissions needed
- Forever free
- Sygic Car Connected Navigation
- Rating: 4.6
- Installs: 5,000,000+
- Size: Varies with device
- Last Updated: October 17, 2019
Sygic Car Navigation is navigation app especially optimized to work with your car’s built-in infotainment system via smartphone to in-dash connectivity.
- Offline Maps with Lifetime free map updates
- Speed Limits
- Real-time Traffic Information
- Voice Guided Navigation
- Uber Driver
- Rating: 4.2
- Installs: 50,000,000+
- Size: 54M
- Last updated: April 27, 2020
This is a driver app personalized for drivers, where they can spare their free time into earnings.
- No office, no boss
- A smarter way to earn more
- Easy to access
- Rating: 3.0
- Installs: 100,000+
- Size: 14M
- Last updated: November 21, 2019
Discover DriveSmart, is a driver app that allows you to analyze how you drive comfortably and safely to improve the wheel and show that you are a good driver.
- Analyze your driving skills easily
- Will get a detailed data about the distance, speed and acceleration for trips
- Personalized to improve your driving
- Driving Detective
- Rating: 3.5
- Installs: 10,000+
- Size: 1.5M
- Last updated: May 17, 2018
This driver app automatically detects when you are in a moving vehicle and toggles Do Not Disturb on, silencing alerts for the duration of the drive.
- Does not use GPS data
- Automatic pause when finished with the drive
- Does not interfere with car displays
- GPS Navigation Route Finder
- Rating: 4.3
- Installs: 500,000+
- Size: 4.5M
- Last update: March 2, 2020
GPS Navigation Route Finder helps to view traffic routes easily find current location and nearby places. It saves total search location and finds the location as a visit story.
- Personalized speedometer and GPS compass
- Saves location history automatically
- Map Navigation available
- Offline Maps, GPS Navigation App
- Rating: 4.0
- Installs: 1,000,000+
- Size: 12M
- Last updated: April 16, 2020
This is a perfect driver app solution for international travellers as it is free, Fast, Detailed and entirely Offline and works without internet connection anywhere anytime.
- Free maps updates for lifetime
- Voice navigation with free GPS navigation
- Traffic Alerts and daily Weather reports
- Save money on roaming charges with offline maps free
- GPS Buddy Driver
- Rating: 4.5
- Installs: 5,000+
- Size: 93M
- Last updated: March 10, 2020
This customized driver app enables the exchange of tasks, activities and messages. Communicating from the driver to the office and vice versa has never been so easy.
- Receive tasks
- Immediately navigate safely to the location
- Option for registering returnable packaging
- Receive and send messages
The worth of each app may vary with the needs of people. Anyway, the best driving apps are the ones that are easy to access and simple to use. Though the above-mentioned driving apps are very few in number, there are many others too.
Bitrek is a prominent manufacturer of GPS devices and systems for monitoring and transportation control.
Our TrackSchoolBus integrates Bitrek via Wialon Platform. We hope integrating Bitrek in Wialon platform will be a feather for our services.
TrackSchoolBus has partnered with Nextop in Peru.
Associating with Nextop will be a prerequisite for our customers to have solutions for managing multiple schools adroitly.
Nextop is a technological innovation company with a vision to refine day-to-day activities with a blend of technology, achieving time optimization, and logistics improvements.
We hope Nextop; along with TrackSchoolBus can sow the seeds of technological improvisations at a personal, work, and professional level.
TrackSchoolBus is being partnered with Edsys, pioneers in the field of education who deliver software solutions for ages.
They come up with a school management software, ‘Edsys for Education’. It is a collection of top-notch educational solutions to meet up school management requirements with ease.
Collaborating with this product, helps educational institutions to access our TrackSchoolBus software along with other school management software modules like attendance management, student life cycle management, school fee management, assignment and assessment management system and many more.
As a backbone; Edsys possesses a bunch of highly qualified and professional team at the back-end to offer result-oriented and ready to deploy software products with provision for customization.
Safe Transportation of kids to and from school is really an inevitable thing. And it’s quite easy to make it a simple task.
Perhaps, it is school bus drivers who carry the responsibility on their shoulders of keeping children safe during their journey. They play a crucial role in the safety of school buses. They are one of the most trained, skilled and scrutinized professionals on road.
But, unfortunately, they aren’t appreciated for their deeds or are sometimes, not dealt with the respect they deserve, where it is really important to value them.
In fact, School Bus Drivers are one of the most trained, skilled and scrutinized professionals on road.
So, let’s listen to some of the interesting real-life memories and experiences of school bus drivers…
- Though he was created to be in dark, he didn’t give up…
In my 23 years long driving experience, one of my favorites is that with a visually impaired student. This student was keenly interested in the bus and used to ask me questions everyday about how things work in a bus. He was really good at catching things, that he even recognized other drivers and dispatchers when they talked on the radio.
One morning, few students were home sick and were not riding the bus, so we arrived 15 minutes earlier.
Since the teachers usually don’t come out to get the students off the bus until the scheduled time, I secured the bus (Turned off the engine, took out the key, and bled down the air pressure), and asked him whether he would like to sit in the driver’s seat.
His face lit up with an extreme aura of happiness, and I along with my assistant helped him to the driver’s seat. As he ran his hands over the control switches, I explained him the switches. He was so happy that he smiled ear-to-ear.
Few days later, we were again early to school and this time he asked me whether he could sit in the driver’s seat, and I was shocked that he ran his hand over each switch and named them from his memory.
“This is the master switch… the clearance lights switch… left defrost switch..” He had memorized all the controls in just one go.
He was an amazingly intelligent and insightful student, and it was my privilege to be his bus driver and “see” a different outlook on life.
-A privileged memory shared by Josh Baumann
- Thanks Giving Cards!!!!!!!!
It was more than 30 years ago, that once teenage guy got into my bus from his usual stop.
But unusually, he had a sack in his hand and I wondered what it was. Luckily, he asked me to guess it. Since I had no idea, I said “Sorry kid, I donno”. But his reply shocked me. He said that the sack was full of Thanks Giving Cards.
Such a cute kid was he that he planned to give everybody Thanks Giving Cards on a Valentine’s Day, instead of roses or love letters.
-A cute memory recollected by Becky Riley.
Children may not know what they mean to me. Perhaps, they are kids may not have the ability to understand it.
Whatever, I like to give them a morning wish and an evening wish.
I don’t wish them expecting it back, and many of them don’t care about greeting me back. But when someone does it, I really feel grateful deep inside and my heart gets filled with a kind of unexpressed emotion.
-A grateful memory shared by Nancy a Sauerbrei
- Do I look like a Santa???
The day when a student called me a ‘Santa’ for the first time is still green in my mind. But unfortunately, I don’t why do they still call me so? Haha…
-A funny memory shared by Garry Bull
- Uff!!!!!! A wasp fly here
Several years back, I was taking my middle school students home. Due to the exceptional scorching heat of June, all the windows were open.
(The bus wasn’t occupied with AC). All of a sudden a wasp flew into the window and wreaked havoc. Everybody started screaming and yelling out of fear.
I stopped the bus and walked to the aisle where the wasp was on the ceiling. I grabbed the wasp by its wings and threw it out of the window, and came back to my driver seat.
But then I heard someone asking, “Did he grab that wasp by his hand?” I just smiled to myself and finished my routes.
An adventurous memory shares by Joe White
- Handsome me!!!!!!!!
One day I was waiting at the door of a loaded bus to give the key to a last minute sub-driver.
It was then that a 5 year old young lady came to me and said that I look handsome. I was overwhelmed with joy to hear this from a kid. I was like “O.. wow!!! Am I that handsome”. But soon before I could barely say anything, she took a long breath the completed the sentence “Just like my Grandpa”. Uff!!!!!! I was dumbstruck. This was really funny for me.
-A funny memory by Don Robinson
- My dad has got….
I have a 7 year old ranch boy in my bus. We usually chat about farm/ranch type things in the morning.
And one day as usual, we were talking about the upcoming calving season, when the little guy piped up and started speaking-“My dad got horny blah blah blah..”
I was about to spit the coffee over the dash!!! But trying to remain composed I listened to him and realized that he was talking about his last calf. I asked him-“ Horny must be a cow?” and he replied “Yes”.
Hahaha I think children are too naive at heart.
-A misinterpreted incident shared by Roxanne Swartz
- Total Silence throughout the journey
I had a special need kid, who would get upset and bang the window if things got too loud.
One day I was dealing with some other difficulties, I don’t remember what it was. But I remember what I said to my kids.
I said them that I needed complete silence for the love of Carter. I don’t know why, but I finished that trip with pin drop silence.
I was really proud of my kids then, that when it came for the cause of some needy student, they all quitted themselves for him. They really left me in tears that day.
-A proud memory shared by Lynn Welton
- The Naughty Pie..
Once I had a very naught kindergarten kid in my bus. He was like super crazy and annoying.
He always used to irritate other kids, from hitting to being disrespectful, and even once he asked an older student that whether she washed her face in the morning before leaving to school. She was really hurt by his words and ended up in tears.
I almost dreaded picking this guy. But one fine morning, he got into the bus and gave me a hug. I wondered that what happened to him!!! Then we reached school, where I usually unload ladies first, but he walked to the front of the Bus and again gave me the Biggest Hug and said, “Mrs. Tammy, I’m so sick and cried”.
I pulled up and secured my Bus and took him to the Nurse’s Office Hand in Hand. Once he returned, he never missed to hug me daily.
-One of the heart-touching experiences shared by Yarbrough Tammy.
10. My Birthday ‘Gifts’, not presents…
I drove for almost 30 years before retiring last December. I would have to say that one of my best memories was on my birthday.
My birthday falls in the month of June, so we rarely drive on my birthday. But once on my birthday, as every child boarded my bus to go home, they handed me a gift, not a present.
A gift- an Apple left over from lunch, A headless Lego man, a rubber band bracelet, weeds, leaves and rocks from the school yard, a marble, half used pencils, notes and pictures on scraps of paper, hair ribbons any many.
Perhaps, the size or quality or rate of these tiny gifts, these really meant a lot to me. This showed me the innocence of a small child’s heart. That’s why I call it as gifts and not presents.
-A memory which shows the innocent mindset of kids, shared by Terrie Matthews Keisler.
While a few of the Bus Driver Experiences or Memories are shared here, there are a lot more which may raise interest in you…
Perhaps, these stories were simply meant to throw an idea to show you how dedicated and passionate school bus drivers are. In fact, most of them do it out their passion, and the children along with the bus means a lot to them.