1 student per bus bench, masks for all onboard: DESE releases transportation guidance


BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released guidance Wednesday about how districts should transport students to school amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 15-page document limits capacity on school buses; mandates masks for all passengers, regardless of age; and requires bus windows to be kept open at all times, unless weather conditions make it impossible to do so.

Social distancing will be enforced, with students required to sit in assigned seats, with no more than one person per bench. An exemption will be made for children from the same household, who will be allowed to sit together.

The guidance also includes passenger limits by bus size. For example, a 77-passenger bus will now only allow for 25 passengers and a 47-passenger bus will be reduced to 15 passengers.

Districts are urged to consider a monitor for every bus to make sure students are adhering to the guidelines.