WEST FARGO — Bus drivers are preparing for changes to their routes and procedures as schools introduce policies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
"We're doing our typical back-to-school planning; we are implementing a lot of different plans and changes that we hope will make a difference on our routes and keeps kids and drivers safe," said Brad Redmond, the transportation director for West Fargo Public Schools.
Redmond said he ideally wants 10 to 15 students per bus, but with the number of routes, it could be closer to 20 to 25 students per bus.
While on the bus, students have to wear a mask, and they will have an ID card they can swipe to make it easier to contact trace in case of a positive coronavirus case.
"(The ID's) going to let us know who's been on our bus, what day they were riding, where they got on, where they got off," Redmond said.
Once students step on, they'll have to fill the bus back to front, then unload from front to back once they get to school.
In terms of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines, Redmond said social distancing will be the most difficult one to implement.
"One would have to sit against this window, and your next available seat would be available here," he said while showing off about a 6-foot distance within the bus.
Redmond also said seating will be limited to one student per seat, which is the same guideline for Fargo's buses.
Although there are many challenges to face, he believes everyone can get through it as a team.
"We just ask parents to help us with those (challenges) and just to keep not only our children safe, but other children on the bus," Redmond said.
West Fargo, Fargo and Moorhead's school districts are expected to finalize busing plans within the next couple of weeks.