Back to School: Lee County mom says bus safety protocols not followed, district reports no other complaints

Reporter: Sara Girard Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

A mom in Southwest Florida is disappointed and nervous after sending her children on the school bus.

With the new school year comes new protocols. Kathy Sousa and three of her elementary school children, Denim, Hannah and Aiden, decided face-to-face learning at Skyline Elementary School in Cape Coral is the way to go this year.

To get to school, Sousa’s kids ride the bus.

“I gave them, we can do the computers again, or you know you can go to school,” Sousa said. “But if you go to school, you’re going to have to wear the mask.”

Wearing a mask is one of many pandemic policies Lee County students had to study up on.

“It’s kind of nerve-racking; it is,” Sousa said. “I’m trusting the school to do their part in keeping everything clean, safe for all kids.”

Early Monday morning, Sousa says she’s afraid drivers didn’t follow specific safety protocols outlined by the district.

“At least, I heard that they were going to start from the back to the front,” Sousa said. “And with my kids being the first one on the bus, they sat right there in the front seat.”

The School District of Lee County said bus drivers should keep windows down, but Sousa didn’t see that happen.

“[That driver] has a mask, and hand sanitizer, but her windows are not down,” Sousa said, referencing another bus that passed by. “I think that that needs to be addressed.”

Sousa said she saw at least four buses with windows up.

She recognizes, however, that is it’s only the first day of implementing these changes, and following a laundry list of new rules can be difficult, especially since no one has done this before.

“We just hope you know, first day is rocky, and later on it continues to go a little smoother,” Sousa said.

But seeing some requirements skipped over adds to her first day jitters.

“Now I’m going to question if I’m going to continue putting my kids on the bus,” Sousa said.

At the end of the day, Sousa’s oldest daughter told her only seven kids rode the bus, and windows stayed up both to and from school.

The District said only five kids took that bus. They also looked into the issue, confirmed the driver didn’t follow outlined procedures and reminded her of their importance. Other than this, the District says no other complaints about transportation were reported Monday.

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