Taking the bus to school? Here are some tips to stay safe

Story by CBC Kids News • 2020-09-07 06:00

Keep the windows open when possible, wear a mask and avoid touching your face

Izabella Daveluy has been taking the bus to school since kindergarten — but this year was very different from how she remembered.

“It was quieter than usual,” said Izabella, 12, from Roxboro, Que. (Quebec).

Not only that, but everyone had to stick to their assigned seats and wear masks.

It’s all part of an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

A girl wearing a mask in an apartment hallway.

Izabella Daveluy, 12, pictured here on her first day of school on Aug. 31. (Image submitted by Izabella Daveluy)

Izabella was among thousands of students in Quebec who started school two weeks ago, while the big day varies for the remainder of kids across the country.

So, if you’re like Izabella and taking the bus to school, you may be wondering how to stay safe.

What can I do to reduce the risk of COVID-19?

Public Health Canada said communal transportation, like buses, can increase the risk of COVID-19.

Here are some things to remember:

 Here are some things to remember:  Stick to your assigned seat (if you have one).  Keep the window open beside you when it’s warm out.  Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before and after riding the bus.   Stay at least two metres away from the driver and other students, unless they live in your family or they’re in your cohort.  Stay at least two metres away from others when lining up to get on or off the bus.  Avoid touching your face or surfaces, unless you have to.

If you’re showing symptoms of the coronavirus, it’s best for you to stay home until you’re feeling better.

Patricia Gibeau Walsh, 7, from Montreal, started school last week.

But instead of taking a bus, she is being picked up in a minivan, which is organized through her school.

It’s just like a bus, but smaller — the driver picks up other students along the way.

“It felt a lot different,” she said of going back to school.

Patricia said no matter the form of transportation you take to school, it’s important to wear a mask and keep your hands clean.

Patricia Gibeau Walsh, 7, went back to school on Aug. 31. (Image submitted by Vanessa Gibeau)

“I wash my hands before I go onto the bus, then I put on my mask,” she said. “Then if I really want to, I put on a bit of sanitizer.”

Patricia’s tips for other kids?

Try to sit still on the bus and try not to do anything that could cause your mask to fall off.

How are bus rules different across Canada?

Don’t worry, the responsibility isn’t all on you.

There are back-to-school bus plans across the country, which include the following precautionary measures:

Other guidelines differ depending on where you live.

A kid wearing a mask steps off the bus

Provinces and territories across Canada have put extra cleaning measures in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. (Image credit: Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

For example, Quebec recommends a maximum of two students per bench.

In British Columbia, meanwhile, each student should have their own seat unless sharing with a member of their household.

Ontario's plan indicates that buses will likely operate at near-normal capacities — which means larger buses could carry more than 70 students.

Manitoba and New Brunswick are two provinces counting on more parents driving their kids to school.

Do you have more questions about going back to school? Check out these articles:

TOP IMAGE CREDIT: (Francis Ferland/CBC)

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