DHEC, Dept. of Education Support School Bus Safety Month
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Sept. 16, 2021
COLUMBIA, S.C. – In recognition of the U.S. Senate’s resolution to proclaim September as National School Bus Safety Month, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the S.C. Department of Education (SCDE) reiterate that a key component of school bus safety during the COVID-19 pandemic is the wearing of masks on school buses.
While not a substitute for vaccination, wearing a mask on school buses and at school remains the best scientific guidance for preventing the spread of COVID-19. School buses are a close-contact environment by nature, which is why the SCDE in August announced it would require the use of face coverings by students and staff on state-owned and operated school buses in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s order of January 29, 2021, that required the use of face coverings on all methods of public transportation, including school buses. The SCDE and DHEC have also collaborated on guidance operating school buses during the COVID-19 pandemic. This guidance includes social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, improved ventilation, and messaging to parents and guardians.
“School bus safety is an important aspect of our children’s overall school safety experience because for so many it literally begins and ends their official school day,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC director. “Wearing masks on buses is an integral part of our safety protocols during this pandemic, especially for those 11-and-under who are not yet eligible for the vaccine.”
State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said masks are especially important right now as we face some of the highest numbers of new cases yet, especially in school-aged children.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to adversely impact our state’s education system and the ability of our students to learn face to face alongside their peers, said Superintendent Spearman. “It is imperative that we all do everything we can to keep students and staff in school teaching and learning which means we must follow the mitigation strategies put forth by public health experts – including wearing masks in school and on school buses.
The SCDE’s Transportation Office works year round with the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) to ensure school buses remain the safest mode of transportation to and from school. Visit SCPDS’s School Bus Safety website for important safety information for motorists, parents, and bus riders.