Transportation Information and Survey

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Safely transporting our bus students is a big challenge as we plan for the upcoming school year.  Our number one goal is the safety of all students.   It is extremely difficult to address the COVID virus impact on our school operations, including our bus operations.  As a District, we’ve been intently reviewing the guidance from the Center for Disease Control, our State and our own County Health Department.   An initial plan for our District is included below and will be further developed before school starts.  It will remain flexible as conditions evolve along with addressing any new guidance we may receive.  We are requesting your assistance to further define and operationalize our plan.    

Please understand that we are making every effort to find the balance of maintaining a safe bus environment while operating an efficient system that delivers over 5,200 students to twenty-one schools including Early Leaning, elementary, middle, and high schools. 

Outlined below are our initial protocols that have been identified for operating during the pandemic.

Great Falls Public Schools Transportation Standard Plan

Seat Limit - one student per seat – This has been approved by the Cascade County Health Department as an established District standard for safe social distancing.  Family members are allowed to sit together in seats.  The diagram below demonstrates the capacity of the bus for operation with and without masks.  Circumstances may dictate a slight adjustment to this standard. 

bus seating

Masks - for the safety of all students on the bus, we highly recommend that each student wear a mask.  We encourage parents to obtain a mask that fits their children well.  If your child forgets their mask, one will be available for use.  Loaned masks will be recollected and laundered on a daily basis on each route.  The mask protocol allows for maximum safe seating capacity on the bus.  I encourage you to review the recommended guidelines for seating with and without masks.  We understand that there may be parents who may not agree with this standard.  A logical option would be for parents to transport unmasked children.

Hand Sanitizer - As students enter the bus, hand sanitizer will be available and it is requested that all students use it, again, for all students’ safety.

Assigned Seating – Assigned seating has been a requirement in the past, but it is critical this year to help with contact tracing if necessary. 

Health Plans Updated – If your child has any health related issues, we request that you update their health plan and provide it to your child’s school prior to the beginning of the school year.  We will make every effort to ensure that we implement appropriate accommodations.

Route Adjustments - Minor adjustments have been made to a few routes to help accommodate the required social distancing bus capacity as well as the time it will take to use hand sanitizer.  Bus stops that have a large number of riders and are close to a school, will be picked up and delivered separately.  This action will free up space to help meet appropriate social distancing standards.

One student per route – We are evaluating split ridership on bus routes. Given the limited availability of seating, we may not be able to accommodate students who currently use two separate routes on an alternating basis.


Big Sky Bus Lines Operational Changes

Training - Bus staff will complete a comprehensive COVID training prior to the school year.

Screening - Bus drivers will fill out a daily Health Assessment Log.

Masks – Drivers are encouraged to wear masks, but are optional to not impede the vision of drivers as they complete the route.  Protective equipment will be worn as students enter and exit the bus.

Cleaning - Buses will be disinfected and cleaned after each route.

If you have any difficulty filling out the survey below, please call the GFPS Transportation Office at 268-6015 for assistance.

Question Title

* 1. Do you plan on sending your students back to school?