Plans to prevent COVID-19 on buses for some Houston-area school districts

School is back in session, and for many districts offering in-person instruction, that means school buses are rolling.

The Texas Education Agency has made a clear recommendation about school transportation. If possible, families should drop students off, carpool or walk to avoid possible COVID-19 exposure on a school bus.

"Being in a small, enclosed space with people you are not quarantining with does carry some risk," Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Linda Yancey said.

Busing is the only transportation option for many families, so local school districts are taking measures to try to keep students safe while on board.

Houston ISD


  • When regular bus service resumes, physical distancing requirements will reduce bus capacity, so only special education and homeless students will be transported.
  • Priority will also be given to students who need additional academic support based on the district's phased return plan.
  • Transportation Services will enhance cleaning protocols and implement contingency plans for responding to student bus riders and bus drivers who develop a presumed or confirmed case of COVID-19.


Katy ISD


  • Per TEA's COVID-19 guidance regarding transportation, Katy ISD is implementing enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures between each bus trip. Therefore, additional time is now required between bus trips. For the 2020-2021 school year, the instructional day start and end times have been adjusted to accommodate the enhanced hygiene protocols.
  • Bus transportation is provided for eligible riders, and every effort is made to ensure students are able to socially distance.
  • All transportation staff required to wear facial coverings.
  • All students, grades Pre-K through 12, required to wear facial coverings upon boarding.
  • In most cases, bus seating is assigned, with no more than two students per seat.
  • Students and staff required to use provided hand sanitizer upon boarding the bus.
  • Bus windows will remain open to allow for additional ventilation and air flow.
  • Buses will be thoroughly cleaned after each bus trip, focusing on high-touch surfaces such as bus seats, steering wheels, knobs and door handles.


Cy-Fair ISD



What is the sanitizing protocol for school buses? Will they be sanitized before and/or after every route? Drivers will spray disinfecting solution and wipe down seats, handrails and high-touch areas after each run or as frequently as possible. Buses and vehicles will be fogged with disinfecting solution following afternoon routes.

Will hand sanitizer be available to students riding the bus? Yes.

Will more buses be in circulation to promote social distancing? Will any school bus rows be blocked off? Any other spacing measures? Are there any changes to the bus routes this year? Will all routes be running as soon as in-person instruction resumes? Routes will be determined based on the number of students who register for bus transportation.

Will students from the same family be required to sit together? Only upon request from the parents/guardians.

Will students and bus operators be required to wear masks? Yes.

Spring Branch ISD



What is the sanitizing protocol for school buses? Will they be sanitized before and/or after every route? Buses will be sprayed with disinfectant at the end of each day. In addition, all buses will be cleaned and disinfected on a weekly basis.

Will hand sanitizer be available to students riding the bus? Hand sanitizer will be made available to students riding the bus, and sanitizer provided at the bus entry.

Will more buses be in circulation to promote social distancing? No.

Will any school bus rows be blocked off? No.

Any other spacing measures? Bus transportation will be offered; however, the standard number of transported students comprises the ability to physically distance. For this reason, bus drivers and students utilizing bus transportation will be required to utilize face coverings.

Will students from the same family be required to sit together? Families are encouraged to sit together, but not required to do so.

Will students and bus operators be required to wear masks? Masks or face shields will be required to access district transportation. Bus drivers and students will be required to wear a face covering while using district transportation.

Are there any changes to the bus routes this year? Bus routes and schedules will operate in a traditional manner to meet current school schedules. The district will provide bus transportation to all students.

Will all routes be running as soon as in-person instruction resumes? Bus routes and schedules will operate in a traditional manner to meet current school schedules, including in-person instruction.

Galveston ISD



What is the sanitizing protocol for school buses? Will they be sanitized before and/or after every route? The buses are sprayed and wiped down with professional disinfectants after the first morning route (Elementary) and after the second morning route (Middle/High). They are sanitized with a germ fogger during midday. The same procedure happens again in the afternoon: disinfected after each route and fogged at the end of the day. (Cleaned four times a day, fogged two times a day)

Will hand sanitizer be available to students riding the bus? Bus drivers will give each passenger hand sanitizer as they enter and exit the bus.

Will more buses be in circulation to promote social distancing? Will any school bus rows be blocked off? Any other spacing measures? No. No blocking of rows. Limited to two students per seat.

Will students from the same family be required to sit together? Yes, it will be advised that siblings sit together.

Will students and bus operators be required to wear masks? Yes. Masks for everyone, every age, at all times on the bus.

Are there any changes to the bus routes this year? None that are related to safety or COIVD-19 procedures.

Will all routes be running as soon as in-person instruction resumes? We will be running routes for small populations transitioning back to on-site during the first four weeks, and will resume all routes when buildings are open for all grade levels. Right now that date is expected to be Sept. 21.

Fort Bend ISD



Will buses for special education students be running at the beginning of the school year? Yes. If the student receives transportation as part of their special education services, then transportation will be continued for face-to-face instruction. Student needs assessments are still ongoing to determine the need for transportation services. If a parent chooses to bring their child to and from school, they have that option as well.

What is the sanitizing protocol for school buses? Will they be sanitized before and/or after every route? Yes, we have prioritized a strict cleaning and sanitation protocol for all buses. All buses will be sanitized before routes, between every group of students, during layovers, after routes, and fogged throughout the week.

Will hand sanitizer be available to students riding the bus? Every transportation employee will be issued a hand sanitizer to use as necessary throughout the workday. TEA has provided FBISD with several deliveries of various PPE to include disposable masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, and face shields.

Will more buses be in circulation to promote social distancing? Will any school bus rows be blocked off? Any other spacing measures? We have created plans that utilize our vehicles while adhering to social distancing guidelines. For the health and safety of all students, maintaining the social distance of at least six feet will be in place at all times when possible, including on the bus.

Will students from the same family be required to sit together? We have created models that require household members to sit together. Details on this implementation would be shared before a transition to face-to-face.

Will students and bus operators be required to wear masks? Transportation employees will be provided and required to wear all mandated PPE to include masks. Concerning student PPE, they will be held to campus standards or greater depending upon social distancing standards and the number of passengers.

Are there any changes to the bus routes this year? Not particularly. Bus routes change every year and throughout the school year to account for the safe and cost-effective transport of young people.

Will all routes be running as soon as in-person instruction resumes? Our goal is to ensure that those students who require transportation services to and from school can utilize our bus services. We are asking that if parents or guardians can provide transportation for their students to and from school, to do so.
Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.