Hamilton health commissioner recommends all students wear masks on buses

Hamilton Health Commissioner Kay Farrar believes all students who ride buses to school this fall should have to wear face masks while riding buses to prevent the spread of COVID-19, she told Hamilton City Council on Wednesday.

County and city health officials are recommending that because children from the same neighborhood play with each other, they should sit next to each other on the bus, filling the vehicles from the back to the front so neighbors are close together, with a family’s siblings ideally sitting next to each other, because “there’s no way we can run the bus five times to the same neighborhood and have every other seat (empty),” Farrar said.

“I think my preference is going to be that masks are going to be required on the bus because we’re going to have them sitting very closely,” she said. “What they do beyond that time is up to them. I think there’ll be a way for parents to opt out, if they’re not comfortable with that. There can be a warning system if kids are messing with their masks, or whatever.

“But it’s kind of like the days of, ‘No shirt, no shoes, no service. If you want to ride the bus, you’re going to have to wear a mask. I don’t know another way to figure that out for them.”

City and county health officials have been meeting weekly with superintendents across the county, and Wednesday started meeting with Catholic school principals to give them guidance.

“We’re still waiting for the governor’s guidance on what he’s going to put out, but we can’t wait. School is going to be upon us and we’ve got to start with some initial plans,” Farrar said.

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