School buses returned to the road this week and for the Turtle Mountain School Division (TMSD) it was a return to the use of seating plans.

Each school day 17 buses are on the road.

TMSD’s transportation and maintenance supervisor Tyler Shiels says as the school year starts each bus will be using a seating plan to help protect students. “The riders know what seat they have to sit in and we’ll have daily attendance sheets so we can track any issues we have on the buses with sickness or Covid if it happens to pop up.”

“We aren’t allowing and extra riders on the school bus at the start of the school year. Unless those riders are approved by the division. We’ll sanitize our buses daily to keep everybody safe and healthy as we navigate through the start of another school year.”

Shiels says anyone not registered to ride on the bus will be considered an extra rider.

“That means we aren’t going to be taking birthday parties home and that’s really to keep the kids as safe and healthy as we can.”

A seating plan was a mandatory part of Covid rules the division used last year.

“We find it’s a good way for our drivers to track who is or isn’t on their bus each day” said Tyler Shiels

Motorists are reminded to obey speed zones and the flashing lights on the school buses.

“Red means stop and when the stop sign is out it doesn’t mean you drive around the buses. Most of our buses are now equipped with cameras and we can monitor and share with the RCMP if motorists aren’t obeying the lights and signs. Amber means caution but it’s also a warning that the stop lights and sign are coming.”