School buses, drivers set to resume transporting Southern California students to campuses

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- Before school buses can began rolling through Southern California cities and towns again, they must first make a stop for a safety inspection.

"Right now, we are seeing a mad rush with districts trying to get ready and be ready to come back full time. So, it is very exciting," said Brandon Bluhm with A-Z Bus Sales.

AZ Bus Sales in Colton has been busy inspecting, repairing and in some cases upgrading school buses.

"There are HEPA filters now being added to a lot of buses. Some of the CARE Act funds are coming to schools and they are using them in that regard," said Bluhm.

Due to COVID-19 safety guidelines returning students will notice a few changes onboard from assigned seating for social distancing to stickers reminding them to wear a mask.

Teachers approve LAUSD reopening deal with strict protocols in place
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The restart of Los Angeles Unified schools is moving closer to reality as the teachers union has now approved a deal to resume in-person instruction.

"There are only so many kids we can carry on a bus and we also due high touch wipes downs that the drivers are responsible for during the day," said William J. Burns with First Student, a bus staffing service.

But somethings will stay the same when it comes to who will be behind the wheel.

"It feels so good, I am happy to be back, happy to see their smiling faces," said Karen Marquez, a school bus driver.

This week school bus drivers are returning to their old routes and familiar faces after a year a part.

"When you are driving those kids everyday you build a relationship with them. I am a bus driver that likes to sing to my students. So, I have a great time on the bus with them missing those interactions it was very sad for me," said Rachelle Campbell.

Before the school day is done school bus drivers will have transported 6,000 Riverside Unified School students to and from school.

"Well it gives me something to do. I am kind of semi retired so I enjoy being with the kids. I use to be a teacher," said school bus driver Arthur Salsameda.

Just like the first day of school, the first week back behind the wheel has also been exciting.
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