By Rob Way | September 30, 2020 at 3:44 PM EDT - Updated September 30 at 3:45 PM
CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Lowcountry school districts are preparing for more students to ride buses in the days and weeks ahead as COVID-19 trends continue to improve in some counties.
Right now, about 10,000 Charleston County students and 7,500 Dorchester District Two students take a bus to school, that’s less than half of the amount each district had at this time last year.
By Thursday, all Charleston County high school students waitlisted on Aug. 28 will be able to return in person, and Interim Director of Student Transportation James Lynch said there shouldn’t be any problems with overcrowding.
“We have seating assignments and seating charts completed by the drivers," Lynch said. "Each week we discuss which routes are approaching capacity and what resolutions can we come up with to mitigate the potential overcrowding of our buses.”
Dorchester District Two school buses also have seating assignments, limit capacity to two students per seat, and, like Charleston County, require masks to be worn at all times on the bus.
The difference is that Dorchester District Two remains in hybrid mode, so students are only reporting physically to school twice a week. This could be changing in mid-October though, something Director of Transportation Steve Shope said they’re already planning for.
“There are some neighborhoods that would have more students that would exceed those restricted capacities, so what we’d have to do is adjust some bus routes and equalize those loads," Shope said. "We’d possibly make double runs, but we don’t want to do that.”
Both school districts also are cleaning their buses twice a day.
“We’ve been making sure the windows are open to increase air circulation on the bus," Lynch said. "Right now, we’ve had no significant issues.”
Charleston County has also launched a new bus tracking app called FirstView. Parents and students are able to use it to track their buses and get notifications if there are any delays.
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