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School Prep: Riding the Bus During COVID? Tips for Kids

Tuesday, August 18, 2020 2:32 PM

In the pre-pandemic world, school buses were like a moving playground - a loud, crowded free-for-all. When school buildings reopen for the 2020/21 school year, the bus ride to the building will look much different. Many districts are reducing the number of riders and making face masks mandatory.

If busing is a necessity for your family, Jennifer Grant, MD, an Infectious Disease physician with NorthShore, said parents should first check the busing rules for their districts, then review them with their children.

“Once you know your school district’s rules, you can practice riding the bus with younger children by setting up a “school bus” at home with chairs,” Dr. Grant said. “Children can role play with their masks and practice social distancing.”

Other tips Dr. Grant suggests are:

  • Wash your hands before you leave the house for the bus stop. Wash your hands when you arrive at school or ask your teacher to help you use hand sanitizer. For older children, stuff a travel-size hand sanitizer in backpacks.
  • At the bus stop, make sure you maintain social distancing and wear a face mask. Traditionally, bus stops are social experiences. But during the pandemic, it is extremely important for parents and children to maintain six feet distance from anyone who is not in their household while waiting for and loading the bus.
  • Children should keep their masks on throughout the entire bus ride. To help children follow this rule, discourage eating on the bus (unless medically necessary) by having a healthy snack waiting for them when they get home.
  • Children should avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Children should also cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of their elbows. Throw used tissues in the trash and wash your hands as soon as possible with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.