Staff with the Northwestern Student Services Consortium are working closely with the Northwestern Health Unit, local school boards and the Ministry of Education to keep children and school bus drivers as safe as possible next month, as students return to the classroom.

School buses will be operating at regular capacity, although assigned seating will be used. Additional cleaning protocols will also be in place, and masks will be required for students between Grade 4 and Grade 12.

Students will be asked to follow social distancing requirements while waiting at their bus stop, and they’ll be asked to enter and exit the bus one student at a time. Masks are encouraged for Kindergarten to Grade 3 students.

Staff say if your child rode the bus at the end of in-school instruction last year, they’ll automatically be registered for the upcoming year, unless you’ve been contacted directly. Returning Grade 12 students must re-register.

If your child was not previously a bus student, you must register separately though their Transportation Request Form. Registrations made after August 17 may not be eligible for the first day of school.

Families can also opt their students out of busing. You can do this by completing your school board’s return to school survey, or by emailing bussing@nwobus.ca. You may re-register for busing at a later date.

The NWOSSC adds that in the event there is an individual identified as potentially having COVID-19, who may have come into contact with other students on the bus, the school will contact the Northwestern Health Unit, who will conduct contact tracing protocols and determine next steps.

The Northwestern Ontario Student Services Consortium adds that active forms of travel, like walking, biking and private transportation by parents or caregivers, are encouraged wherever possible to ease pressure on transportation demands.

The first day of school for boards in the area is set for September 3.

For more information:
COVID-19 safety measures for school buses
NWOSSC – Return to School Transportation FAQ