‘I think it’s dangerous’: School bus drivers struggle with decision to return

SPRING GREEN, Wis. — As many schools start back up this week, some bus drivers have yet to decide if they want to go back.

Dale Ewers drives a school bus route for The River Valley School District in Spring Green. He said his responsibility as a bus driver this year expands to make sure students remain safe and healthy on their ride to and from school.

“I think it’s dangerous,” Ewers said. “You’re driving the bus, trying to keep track. You got to make sure the kids sit in their assigned seats, make sure they all have their masks on and still drive the bus safely.”

Ewers said he has to make the decision to either go back to work and risk catching the virus or stay home without an income.

“It’s more than just my concern. You know all of us drivers are right around 60 years old and older, and I guess it doesn’t matter what it’s going to be like. They’re going to have school no matter what,” Ewers said.

Ewers said some of his routes can be hours long and is concerned about ventilation with no air conditioning on the bus.

Ewers said he doesn’t have to take a COVID-19 test before school starts, and doesn’t know what will happen if a driver or student tests positive.

The River Valley School District released a set of guidelines for buses on its website. Students will need to use hand sanitizer when entering, wear a mask at all times, and sit in assigned seating. The district also encourages families who don’t need to use the transportation to use their own if possible. This will allow more space for students who need to take it.