Despite COVID challenges, students remained safe

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Students on buses in High Prairie School Division remained safe under COVID-19 restrictions and risks in the 2020-21 school year.

“We are proud to say High Prairie School Division transported the students to and from school safely throughout the year,” says Harry Davis, director of transportation.

“A major part of transporting them safely was complying to the COVID-19 protocols and the ability to do contact tracing should it be necessary.”

Bus drivers were responsible to ensure students maintained social distancing and cohort groups.

Attendance sheets and seating plans were kept by bus drivers, who also sanitized their bus after both daily runs.

“The drivers complied with the measures while keeping themselves healthy and dealing with their own personal anxieties,” Davis says.

“COVID-19 had us ‘reset our clock’ on how we work and live.

“HPSD reset its clock with stringent compliance to established protocols to keep employees, students and respective families safe.”

Davis says the school year started with a lot of anxieties in the unsettling COVID-19 environment and with the new school zone times of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for most of the division except Slave Lake.

Many drivers still aren’t getting the message to stop for school buses when red lights and stop arms are activated.

A number of red light infractions commonly known as fly-bys were reported during the school year.

“One is too many and there is a need to change the mindset of the few bad apples out there,” Davis says.

“Education is a key.

“Fines work, somewhat, but a major step forward would be to apply it to insurance rating.

“It would further place onus on the owner who they allow to operate their vehicle, such as a commercial carrier or other.”

Davis says the school division plans to discuss the issue to come up with strategies to curb the problem.

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