Back to School Information
With the back to school season underway, it is important to familiarize yourself with the following guidance documents that have been issued by the Ministry of Education on COVID-19, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and cleaning/sanitizing school buses. Some of the most useful links are below.
School Bus Ontario encourages you to read through the following links:
- Guide to Re-Opening Ontario Schools – Transportation Information https://www.ontario.ca/page/guide-reopening-ontarios-schools#section-9
- Ontario Announcement on the Safe Re-Opening of Schools https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/07/ontario-releases-plan-for-safe-reopening-of-schools-in-september
- Public Services Health and Safety Association of Student Transportation Services guidance https://www.pshsa.ca/resources/health-and-safety-guidance-during-covid-19-for-student-transportation-employer
Back to School Information on Additional funding for Cleaning/Sanitizing
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
B MEMO RELEASED BY MINISTRY OF EDUCATION ON ENHANCED CLEANING AND PPE
We would like to recognize the extensive work that has been underway by all school boards, transportation consortia, and school bus operators as they prepare for schools reopening in September.
This memo is intended to provide guidance on the allocation of the $40M funding for enhanced cleaning protocols in student transportation that was announced in July 2020. This funding is intended to purchase cleaning and disinfecting supplies, provide additional labour for enhanced cleaning protocols, and supply personal protective equipment (PPE) for drivers to address health and safety measures for student transportation.
The government is actively and directly supporting the school boards, transportation consortia and the student transportation delivery system in securing the supply of PPE and cleaning products through the centralized supply chain initiative lead by the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS). The face shields and medical/procedural masks for bus drivers, as well as cleaning supplies to clean and disinfect school busses are being shipped to school boards based on the volumes ordered by school boards to ensure that the system is ready for a safe restart in September. MGCS will continue to supply PPE and cleaning supplies to the system throughout the school year. Until the cost recovery mechanism is determined, the government will set aside $20M of the $40M investment, for the costs associated with the PPE and cleaning supplies being provided to the system.
The remaining $20 million in funding will be allocated to school boards immediately, through the Priority and Partnerships Fund, proportional to school boards’ 2020-21 Transportation Grant allocation. (see Appendix A for board-by-board details). This is to ensure that school boards and the transportation consortia have the resources needed to address pressures that may emerge.
Eligible expenses include:
– Potential pressures/incremental costs associated with:
running routes at less than full capacity to allow for physical distancing; and
noon-hour or other new bus runs to allow for programmatic choices at the secondary panel to allow for appropriate cohorting.
– Additional staffing and/or overtime related to enhanced cleaning on school purpose vehicles.
– Equipment (e.g., spray guns, hand sanitizing stations) and auxiliary supplies that would support effective enhanced cleaning protocols (means of applying the cleaning products that are being supplied by MGCS to be applied in an efficient manner).
– Additional costs associated with specific cleaning and disinfection products or PPE for use on school purpose vehicles that is not being supplied by MGCS.
Eligible expenses under this program would be expenses incurred between August 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.
As decisions for transportation remain with school boards and transportation consortia who enter into contractual arrangements with local school bus operators, the ministry encourages school boards and transportation consortia to consider the purchases already made through MGCS for transportation, as well as any compensation required through existing contracts with their operators under the eligible expenses.
As part of the ministry released guidance for reopening schools on July 30, 2020, the ministry stated that medical masks and eye protection (i.e., face shields) will be provided for school bus drivers, school bus monitors and student aides. It is expected that school bus drivers and drivers of school purpose vehicles will receive this equipment before school start up. These investments will support enhanced cleaning and the health and safety of students and drivers for safe and reliable transportation services as school reopen.
To view the B memo, click here.
The ministry will continue to work with education partners to assess additional costs associated with enhanced cleaning requirements as the COVID-19 public health emergency evolves.
We look forward to working closely with you on this important initiative.
c: Transportation consortia managers
School Bus Ontario