While Covid-19 numbers are on the rise in Palmetto State, parents complain students face over-crowding in Berkeley County school buses

The Covid-19 situation in the state has been pretty intense lately with more and more people getting hospitalized after close-to-record high daily confirmed cases in the past few weeks.

Just when everyone tries to get as safe as possible, parents blame the Berkeley County school district that their children are being transported in over-crowded school buses.

“My daughter was in the back of the bus, sitting on the floor. She was in the last row, there were about 2 or 3 kids directly in front of her on the floor,” said Danielle Cato, a BCSD parent.

According to Cato, her daughter sent a photo where she had to sit on the ground because there were not enough available seats in the bus.

“She said Mom I don’t have anywhere to sit. I’m telling her like well get off the bus. But first I’m like what do you mean you don’t have anywhere to sit? She said oh, there’s 3 to a seat so it’s really crowded,” said Cato.

Cato is worried about her daughter’s safety, but says it’s not the only problem. According to her, if one gets infected, the whole bus is at risk and then their parents, families, relatives…

“They are piling up on each other. All it takes is 1 person to have COVID and then the whole bus is infected. Then you are going to compromise family members, elderly grandparents, smaller children and then we are never going to get this rate down,” she said.

The Berkeley County School Districts is aware with the issue and they are working on it. At this point there is not much they can since they have to transport more than 20,000 students a day so they cannot operate buses under capacity.

That means 76 students per bus, with 3 students per seat. The school district is currently hiring 40 positions at the department of transportation.

“It really upsets me that you know these are the conditions that our children are being put in,” she said.

DHEC said they know there is a risk of children to get infected and one way to minimize this risk is their recommendation asking everyone to wear masks while in the bus, classrooms and public areas.

Cato said she won’t let her daughter ride the bus until the school district finds a solution.

“We were thankful enough to get other arrangements to get her to and from school. But, for the parents who aren’t as fortunate this is all they have. So something has to be done, this isn’t safe,” she said.

Cindy Carey

Publisher

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