HISD transportation finalizing new routes for returning students

HISD’s transportation services are still finalizing bus routes for riders who plan to return for in-person learning and are preparing to notify parents of assigned routes this week.

School bus service will be limited when in-person instruction resumes on Oct. 19 due to physical distancing and its impact on bus capacity. Under the HISD Communicable Disease Plan, buses will run at half capacity with just 26 students.

To accommodate the reduced capacity, the district says bus service will be limited to special education, homeless, elementary, and specialty school students. Service also may be provided for some students in middle school as well as those who live along high-risk routes if resources are available.

The district said bus service will not be immediately provided to high school students, but later could be if COVID-19 conditions improve and bus capacity increases.

“Our goal has always been to provide students with safe and reliable transportation to and from school,” Transportation Services General Manager John Wilcots IV said. “That is still our mission, and we’ve worked hard to develop routes for as many students as we can safely accommodate.”

Bus riders will be required to wear masks, sanitize their hands and scan their bus badges upon boarding, and maintain physical distancing, sitting one per seat by the window, the district said. Seats will be filled from back to front as students board to limit contact.

The district said drivers are required to wear masks, face shields, and gloves and must sanitize the bus after every student drop off. The buses also are deep cleaned and disinfected at the end of each week, Wilcots said. Additionally, at six, bus windows will be open whenever possible to help with ventilation.