New school bus rules include assigned seating and daily attendance for students

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SUDBURY – Taking a bus to school will be a whole lot different for students this year. Parents of children who are attending schools within the Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) are being reminded they need to register their children for transportation as soon as possible, says a representative of the Sudbury Student Services Consortium (SSSC).

“There are several new things in place this year, all of this is new to us as well as students and parents,” said Renee Boucher, executive director of the SSSC, last week. “The biggest change is that seating will be assigned and bus drivers will be taking daily attendance.” She noted that siblings or members of the same household will be seated together for the entire year.

Those students who get on the bus first will go directly to the back of the bus, and as more students get on the bus, the students will fill the bus from the back to the front, explained Ms. Boucher. “Students will be required to go straight to their seat and sit down,” she said. “Yes, they will have to follow this process every day, in the morning and the afternoon.” 

The buses can be filled to capacity, and students in Grades 4-12 will be required to wear a mask or face covering when they are on the bus (as will bus drivers who are also required to wear face shields that they can lower once students are getting on or off the bus). 

Parents of children who are in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 3 are encouraged to help their children put on the masks when they are getting on or off the bus. 

“The seat directly behind the bus driver will remain empty, unless the child is a member of the same family of the bus driver.”

Parents must indicate whether they are opting in or out as far as having their children bused to school. They can visit BusInfo.ca and click on the parent portal, where they will be asked to opt in or out. Parents also must provide their child’s Ontario Education Number that can be found on their student’s report card. Junior Kindergarten students won’t have an OEN as of yet, but those parents will have been contacted by the SSSC. 

“We are grateful to all the parents for their patience,” said Ms. Boucher. “Our first priority is the safety of all our students and our bus drivers.”