Richland prepares for changes to busing students

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JOHNSTOWN, CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Schools all across our area are preparing for the upcoming school year, but there are many changes students will face…which includes wearing masks and social distancing.

Another critical change they can expect will be on the school bus. Richland School District says there are a few things they will be changing for students on the bus, but some that are just out of their control.

“Busing and transportation is going to be one of the hardest issues we’re going to deal with,” said Arnold Nadonley, Superintendent at Richland School District.

Nadonley says there are some issues that can’t be avoided, like spacing out students on buses.

“For us to separate all of our kids would require to have six times as the number of busses that we have which means our budget would go up from $1.4 million to around $8 million range,” said Nadonley. “You’re probably looking at another 80 busses to do this, and it’s just not possible.”

Richland already has 19 buses that drive dual runs to the high school and then the elementary school.

“We’re taking steps to make sure that the busses are cleaned more often. They’ll be disinfected with a fogger that’s environmentally safe between runs and that will help tremendously.”

Of Richland’s near 1,600 students, about 60% of them ride the bus.

Nadonley is encouraging parents to drop off their kids to decrease that number even further and adds that the most important thing is making sure temperatures are taken in the morning.

“There is no way that any school district  can assign enough people at a bus stop to take temperatures. We had thought about having their temperatures taken on the bus but they’re already congregating at the bus stop so it’s important that parents do that first.”

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