Bus drivers worry about full return to school; SCCPSS waits for more guidance

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – WSAV News 3 is still hearing from parents and staff at the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) about the school board’s decision to return to full-time in-person learning in August.

Last week, we told you about the mixed reaction from parents.

On Monday, one SCCPSS staff member told WSAV News 3 about how she may feel when the plan is actually implemented.

“It’ll be nerves and anxiousness not only on my part but probably most of the people that work in transportation,” said Beautine Hilliard, a school bus operator.

Hilliard says she would have preferred the district to gradually bring back students and believes August is too early for a full return.

When she is not focusing on the road, Hilliard says she is making sure students stay distanced and masked.

“They aren’t able to fully grasp that it isn’t safe for them to play with other kids’ toys, sit with students that they don’t live with,” said Hilliard.

At last week’s school board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Ann Levett said the district is waiting to hear more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Currently, the CDC has reduced social distance requirements to 3 feet in the classroom. But there was no additional guidance for school busses.

If nothing changes before August, SCCPSS says distance requirements will remain at 6 feet.

“The children have done really well, and some of the adults have struggled. We all have. We’re all tired with masks, but we continue to do what we know is safe,” said Dr. Levett last week.

Hilliard, though, says some kids do not wear masks on her bus. Mid-route, she says she often runs out of extras.

“At this point, it’s about safety over if you feel that your rights have been infringed upon,” said Hilliard, who urges parents to make sure their kids are serious about safety.

The school board says the district will return to full-time in-person learning when school starts on Aug. 4. Virtual spots are limited.

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