Dubai: School buses to operate at 100% capacity, kids aged 6 and above to wear masks

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Dubai - Anyone with a temperature above 37.5 degrees Celsius will not be allowed on the bus.


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Wed 25 Aug 2021, 2:26 AM

School principals have welcomed the Knowledge and Human Development Authority's (KHDA) decision to increase the school bus capacity to 100 per cent as part of its back-to-school protocols.

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They said increasing the school bus capacity to its full and optimum level will certainly bring relief to working parents, who will not have to worry about their child's transport to school now.

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As per the KHDA protocol released on Monday, if possible, each student should be given a designated, pre-assigned seat.

Punit MK Vasu, CEO of The Indian High Group of Schools, said: "Schools can now plan their capacity and it comes as a massive relief to community school operators such as our group for being able to operate buses at full capacity. This will be especially helpful for working parents as they would now be able to use the safe and secure school transport for their kids. We welcome these new protocols which will gradually help all of us ease back to face-to-face learning and the ‘right’ normal."

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All schools must refer to the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) guidelines for further details on the management of Covid-19 protocols.

Anyone entering the bus should undergo temperature screening. A person with a temperature above 37.5 degrees Celsius should not be allowed on the bus.

All bus passengers, with the exception of children younger than six, must wear masks.

Bus hygiene should be maintained by following the appropriate sanitisation and physical distancing standards. For example, seat belts, arm rests, handles and rails should be sanitised after each use, in accordance with RTA's relevant guidelines for public transportation.

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Nargish Khambatta, principal of GEMS Modern Academy and vice president of education, pointed out: "Buses back to 100 per cent occupancy with specific seats assigned for students, will ensure drivers are back in their buses and bus routes optimised. Principals are breathing a sigh of relief!"

Records of all bus passengers should be maintained daily and absences recorded.

Earlier, Steve Burnell, managing director of school transport services, underlined: “The safety and well-being of students, employees, and everyone we engage with will always be our priority.”

For buses using swipe cards for registration, the cards and the swipe machine should be regularly sanitised. The process should be supervised by the bus attendant.

Signage must be added inside the bus to guide children in hygienic practices (i.e. respiratory hygiene, waste management etc).

Adequate waste management and disinfection practices should be followed, especially if children use back seat pockets and bins.

It is imperative to ensure proper ventilation in the vehicle at all times. Avoiding recirculation of air and encouraging the use of windows is also crucial.

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