School Transportation A Difficult Problem to Solve This Fall Says Lakes Area Bus Company

School Transportation A Difficult Problem to Solve This Fall Says Lakes Area Bus Company Click to Enlarge

DETROIT LAKES (KDLM) - Olander Bus Services doesn't yet know if they'll be busing students to school this fall or not, but they're preparing as if they will and trying to map out how school transportation might operate during an extended pandemic.

Minnesota officials said last month that schools should be able to reopen in September, but with a long list of precautions. A final decision is expected within two weeks.

School transportation would be a difficult problem to solve if students returned to classes in the fall. Ethan Walz with Olander Bus Service, a locally owned and family operated bus company serving the Detroit Lakes community since 1961 says they're preparing to adapt, "we've been working closely with the school district to prepare - we're expecting to reduce ridership on each bus, possibly with one kid per seat and skipping every other row on the buses".

The challenge isn't just in how many kids can be on a bus at any one time, but how many buses might be needed, how many routes and how they can make it all work safely and efficiently.

"We're looking at bringing in electrostatic sprayers to sanitize the buses after each route and clorox wipe our high touched areas including seatbacks, seat-bottoms and drivers areas," says Walz.

If additional routes and buses are to be used, Olander will also need additional drivers. They're hosting an event Tuesday for potential school bus drivers allowing interested candidates to test drive a school bus and visit with current drivers. The event dubbed, "Office with a View" begins at 4pm at the Olander's offices located on Curry Ave in Detroit Lakes.

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