SALT LAKE CITY – Ben Rowley, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, Transportation Local 6226, says many of the school bus drivers they represent in the Salt Lake City School District, are vulnerable to COVID-19.
“About 50% of our workforce is high risk [for COVID-19] just due to age. Many of our drivers have underlying health conditions, such as asthma and diabetes and heart conditions,” Rowley says.
He also believes it’s unrealistic to screen every child for symptoms of COVID-19 before they board the bus. Drivers do not have temperature scanners, for example, and cannot be blocking traffic.
“If the student is ill, we have to load them on the bus and expose the rest of the students on the bus until they get to school. Then, they’ll do a temperature check and do an assessment of the student. But, until we get to the school, that’s an issue,” Rowley says.
There’s also the issue of poor ventilation on school buses in general.
If his district cannot delay any on-campus classes beyond October, Rowley and other school bus drivers have been asking the district for extra COVID-19 protections.
Specifically, they have found some clear, Plexiglas curtains that could be hung up in each bus that are both street legal and could offer extra protection to drivers.
They problem is the price and how to pay for it.
“It comes down to funding. Those hanging, clear Plexiglas curtains are over $400 a piece. That’s a great concern for us,” Rowley says.
However, he says the Salt Lake City School District has been receptive to their concerns. He’s also hopeful Congress can pass another stimulus package so schools can buy what they need to keep bus drivers safe during the pandemic.
Today’s Top Stories
- Former missionary finds hope after becoming an addict
- Davis County leaders feeling pressure to increase mask wearing, mull possible requirement
- Salt Lake City woman warns others about employment scam
- Pope arrives in Iraq to rally Christians despite pandemic
- 36 years after Joyce Yost’s assault, rape victims have more help, but key funding has lapsed
- Distracted driving fight hits a big roadblock: we won’t give up our phones
- “Life-changing” West Davis Highway begins construction
- Utah reports suicide attempts down during pandemic
- Microsoft attempts takedown of global criminal botnet
- A snowboarder survived an avalanche and caught the heart-racing experience on video