Local 8751 Demands for COVID-19 Health & Safety Procedures

by | Sep 23, 2020 | News, Slider

USW Local 8751 knows that, especially in these pandemic conditions, the traditional yellow school bus is the safest form of transportation for students, parents and communities who choose the Boston Public Schools. We join calls by parent groups, local political leaders and educators to restore yellow school bus transportation to all BPS middle and high school students who choose in-person learning who are now forced to ride long distances with the general public on the MBTA.

Emergency Standard Operating Procedures (ESOP) – 9/16/2020

Boston Public Schools Transportation Operations

(This is Local 8751’s eighth draft follow-up to Delavern’s first draft of April 5, 2020, based on current operational experience, developing science and remaining health & safety improvements needed regarding any reopening plan.  It is incomplete, only covering safer AM check-in protocols.  It does not cover COVID-19 specific student pick-up, on bus nor drop-off protocols nor return to the yard or PM protocols, all details needing on-site walk-throughs, cooperation of the parties with logistical designing, enforcement, etc.)

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For the Health & Safety of all workers, students and communities, the following protocols must be observed during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Anyone who can or will not comply with these Emergency Standard Operating Procedures may not enter nor remain on the work site.

  1. Designate & Placard on and inside the gates of the Freeport, Readville and Washington Street school bus yards and throughout facilities “Worksite COVID-19 Requirements”, with large font messaging about numbers #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, the designated Work-Zone areas, etc.
  2. Mask wearing Required inside Work-Zone (Zone = Anywhere within the bus yards’ gates).
  3. Temperature taking Required upon arrival of All who enter the Work-Zone
  4. PPE (masks, gloves, disinfectant) Available to All at the Work-Zone gate and outside the Facility front door
  5. Physical Distancing of 6 feet or more Required within every Work-Zone area
  6. Hand Washing Required.  Hand Sanitizer Required and available throughout the Work-Zone, including at the gates, outside the front doors of facilities, and throughout the facilities to facilitate immediate, on-demand hand sanitizing for all.
  7. A BTU school Nurse will be stationed at the bus yards – as it has never been truer and more literal than during this pandemic – that “the school bus is an extension of the classroom”.  These medical professionals will supervise and interpret health check screening of workers arriving at the facilities, including temperature taking and on-site COVID-19 testing.  
  8. In a case of a worker, manager or student  in the school bus operation becoming sick and/or testing positive for COVID-19 infection, Transdev shall immediately:
  1. notify all employees
  2. shut down the particular facility/bus for disinfecting
  3. provide mobile, on site COVID-19 testing for those who have come in contact with the positive person
  4. initiate track and trace notifications to all those who have come in contact with the positive person
  5. Provide paid COVID-19 time and/or quarantine for any affected Transdev employee
  1. All bus routes shall include an adult bus driver attendant to enforce mask, physical distancing/seating, and behavioral requirements of emergency bus protocols.
  2. All Facility rooms & surfaces and All In-Service Buses (Routed & Spare) within Work-Zones must be professionally Disinfected after each use and immediately verified upon certified completion by dated sign-off lists immediately visible at the entrance of all facilities and busses.  These sign-off lists shall contain information about when the last disinfecting occurred, what methods of disinfecting were used, and who (first and last name and company name) performed the disinfecting.  Any professional disinfecting company contracted to do this work must meet with the Union workers’ representatives (USW drivers and monitors, UAW mechanics, Teamster dispatchers and Safety trainers and road supervisors) to discuss methods, timetables and specific schedules of disinfecting, subject to inspection at any and all times by designated officers of the Union’s Health & Safety Task Force.  All available technology – including disinfecting misters, disinfectant sprays and wiping, UV irradiation, etc. – will be employed to mitigate the risk to workers, children and the communities we serve.
  3. Facilities must provide Touch-Free door entryways, restroom sink fixtures, soap, paper towel dispensers & hand dryers, and hand sanitizer.  All Facility rooms and busses must be Equipped with Disinfectant wipes and/or spray & paper towels and hand sanitizer for immediate worker and student access and use.
  4. There will be only One Gate Entrance to the Work-Zones and only One Entrance to each Facility.  All other possible entrances – gates, side doors – will be placarded with large font signs “Do Not Enter” and locked for inside emergency exit only.
  5. Transdev Security will lock the Work-Zone gates and secure the Work-Zones from the last bus in in the evening until 4:30 AM daily to prevent intrusion/possible infection by trespassers and animals into the Facility and In-Service Buses.   Transdev Security will staff the Work-Zones 24/7 with responsibilities to include enforcement of these Emergency Standard Operating Procedures with regard to required mask wearing and physical distancing inside and outside facilities.
  1. All yards shall be equipped with at least one outside operations center – a large and sturdy Tent for cover from the weather – at the facility front entrance door for the purpose of front door security and information, PPE distribution and conducting a pre-report Standby bid.
  2. A Loudspeaker system needs to be installed in each yard for dispatch audio communication throughout the yards.
  3. GPS pads shall be mounted on every bus for the purpose of assisting the standby and routed drivers with audio and mapping directions (Versatrans turn-by-turns) for routes.  Keys should remain on the busses.  (This eliminates millions of pieces of paper, clipboards and touching of objects by multiple persons per report.)  (Other circle check and passenger boarding technology could be explored to provide better safety, improve communications, enable some pandemic-related track and trace capabilities, etc.  All such technology shall be subject to the limitations of the CBA and impact bargainng, including but not limited to restricting its use for determining flat rates and exception time and discipline.)
  4. In addition to normal emergency equipment (first aid and body-fluid kits, fire extinguisher, chock blocks, seat-belt cutters), All Buses shall be equipped with a partition for drivers, hand-sanitizer at the entrance, spare PPE (masks, gloves, face-shield, glasses, disinfectant spray, towels for wiping), a schedule of disinfecting posted at the entrance, a holder mounted to contain the DVCR book and registration, a broom, garbage can and bag.
  5. Air quality and ventilation tests shall be conducted in all facilities per COVID-19 and OSHA standards.
  6. All busses’ routing load of humans shall not exceed the DESE maximum of one person per bench (excepting members of the same household), with a maximum of two students who use wheelchairs per WB.
  7. All BPS, charter and parochial schools shall be assigned a standby/shuttle bus for emergency needs, per BTU demands.
  8. As traditional yellow school bus transportation is consider a safer alternative to public transportation during pandemic conditions, all BPS students assigned to the MBTA – including 6th through high school – shall have an option to be routed on a school bus.  Additionally, all BPS students who have opted out of school bus transportation shall have the option to opt back in during the 2020-2021 school year.
  9. All BPS, charter, parochial and out-of-town programs and City of Boston facilities shall permit school bus drivers and monitors to use their restroom facilities.
  10. As sufficient parking for employee vehicles is an essential component of timely logistical and Health & Safety protocols, Transdev and the City shall provide parking spaces to accommodate the critical need, especially at Washington Street, where there are currently only 20 employee parking spots for over 300 workers.
  11. Sufficient time must be added to flat rates for the AM and PM punch-in and pre-trip to allow for all COVID-19 protocols, including strict physical distancing, per report temperature, health check-list, COVID-19 bus prep, etc. BEFORE the Versatrans-assigned yard departure time.
  12. The Boston Public Schools transportation operation shall require a minimum of 15 work-days of dry run and dress rehearsal operations, including training of the multilingual workforce in the  Emergency Standard Operating Procedures and any new technology and communications protocols, practicing the ESOP in real time, practicing the routes and the process of route changes and hybrid scheduling, etc.

Local 8751 demands that the greatest consideration be given to designing pandemic-era driver operations outside with large-event tents and other structures to protect from the weather, with loudspeaker, radio, electronic signage/messaging and digital communications for physical distancing.

The Yards’ Work-Zone will be divided into Areas by Logistical Use and Division of Labor

Details should be worked out through on-site meetings and walk throughs of Local 8751’s Emergency Health & Safety Task Force and Transdev and BPS management.  Local 8751’s Health & Safety Task Force representatives shall be granted access to inspect the Work Zones whenever any operations involving human beings working on site are happening.  

  1. Freeport
  1. Parking (Standby’s and Routed Drivers, Monitors, Management/Dispatchers & Safety)
  2. In-Service Busses
  3. Facility / Restrooms
  4. Maintenance Shop and Downed Busses
  5. Temperature & PPE station(s)
  6. Standby Driver Operations
  7. Standby Drivers park in rows facing the clock and tent/PPE and Bid staging.  Drivers stay in their cars and participate in bidding open routes one at a time.
  1. Routed Driver Operations
  2. Monitor / Volunteer Operations
  1. Readville (To Be Developed)
  2. Washington Street (To Be Developed)

Division of Labor / Zone Logistics and On-Time Performance for Safety & Efficiency

  1. Transdev terminal manager, BPS manager, Teamster dispatcher and Teamster Safety/Security #1
  1. Arrival 4:30 AM
  2. Verify updated Facility & Bus Disinfected check lists and inspect facility and busses
  3. Teamster Safety/Security #1 stations at entrance gate in BPS vehicle with lights on
  1. Greet & orient arrivals
  2.  Provide PPE at gate, Advise all of Mask, Distancing & Temp Requirements
  3. Direct driver and others where to park, answer questions
  1. Set up Temperature Taking station immediately.
  2. Begin taking temperatures of all arrivals.
  3. Set up PPE station outside the front facility entrance inside tent.
  4. Check-off driver attendance & answer driver questions as they arrive
  5. Prepare Bid materials to Start standby driver route Bid outside in Tent at 5:15 AM
  6. UAW mechanics begin pre-trip inspection/PM of in-service buses 4:00 – 5:30 AM.
  1. BPS Monitor/Volunteer Coordinators and 3 Teamster Safety / Security personnel
  2. Arrival 4:45 AM
  1. BPS Coordinators begins Monitor & Volunteer work assignments upon their arrival.
  2. Teamster Safety/Security #2 stations immediately outside front door
  1. Greet & orient arrivals
  2. Enforce Mask, Temperature Check and Physical Distancing Requirements
  3. Assist with driver attendance, orientation and bid
  4. Teamster Safety/Security #3 stations In-Service Buses Zone
  1. Greet & orient arrivals
  2. Enforce Safety Requirements & Direct pedestrians and traffic
  3. Assist with organizing bus problems, trouble shoot
  4. Assist with traffic flow in the yards
  5. Drivers arrive 4:45 – 6:00 AM
  1. Drivers directed by Safety/Security to Temperature Taking station and PPE upon their arrival
  2. Standby Drivers return and stay in car until called during the Route Bid.
  3. Monitors arrive 4:45 – 6:00 AM
  4. Volunteers arrive 5:00 – 6:00 AM
  1. Standby Route Bid begins at 5:15 AM
  2. For efficiency, Route cover sheets should include
  1. Neighborhood(s) of pickups and school destinations
  2. Number of Stops
  3. Total Estimated (Versatrans) Route Time
  4. Versatrans turn by turns are on GPS pad
  1. Terminal Manager & Dispatcher call drivers one-at-a-time by seniority by loudspeaker
  2. Drivers leave their car, choose Route by cover sheets posted in tent
  3. Drivers proceed directly to bus and pre-trip circle check/DVCR completion