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Pandemic priority for school districts: Keeping schools and buses clean and safe for students

Recent months used for preparation
Posted at 11:46 PM, Jul 13, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — As schools across Indiana prepare to reopen for the first day of classes in a pandemic, keeping students and staff safe and every surface sanitized is at the top of the priority list.

"At the heart of it we are trying to keep our students and our staff as safe as we can, and make the school year look as normal as we can given the circumstances," said Katrina Falk, Director of Transportation and Communications for the Shelby Eastern School Corporation.

Falk says the school district has spent much of the summer getting the necessary supplies to reopen schools. That includes purchasing cleaning supplies that are strong enough to kill germs but not strong enough to hurt students or damage surfaces, both in the classroom and on buses.

"All of the products that we are using are EPA approved products and are also in alignment with the CDC guidelines for working against Coronavirus. Most of the products that we are using on our buses are commonly found cleaning products like 409, Lysol, even Isopentyl alcohol," Faulk said.

Faulk says they will not be using bleach as it's strong enough to destroy some surfaces. She says when school reopens on August 5, one of the biggest challenges will be transportation, where social distancing is difficult. She says all of the district's school buses will be cleaned multiple times each day.

The district is taking its cues from the state and county health officials with the understanding that plans can change at anytime as the pandemic continues. But, before any bus moves or any school door is opened Falk is asking parents for patience and flexibility.

"We have a reopening plan that has been approved by the school board, but based upon what's happening in Indiana, what the guidance is from our governor, and from the Department of Education that could change at a moment's notice. So as proactive as you try to be with the situation, you know, even the best laid plans sometimes fall short."