New York state school buses won’t have hand sanitizer on board this fall

Students will still be required to wear face masks on buses

While hand sanitizer has played a large role in public safety during the coronavirus pandemic, it won’t be found on school buses in New York state should classrooms reopen this fall.

School buses in the state won’t be equipped with hand sanitizer due to the flammable nature of the alcohol-based substance, the New York State Department of Education said in an outline of the state’s school reopening plans.

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“School buses shall not be equipped with hand sanitizer due to its combustible composition and potential liability to the carrier or district,” the NYSDE said. “School bus drivers, monitors and attendants must not carry personal bottles of hand sanitizer with them on school buses.”

The NYSDE recommends schools instead consider a policy of giving students hand sanitizer when entering the building or a classroom. It also advised that hand sanitizer be provided in common areas throughout the school.

Reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic means putting children on school buses, and districts are working on plans to limit the risk. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

Reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic means putting children on school buses, and districts are working on plans to limit the risk. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

"We don't want a large quantity of a flammable liquid in one space in a school of course," Lt. Tim Cushman of the Syracuse Fire Department told CNY Central.

Students and adults will still be required to follow other safety measures onboard buses, like wearing face masks and social distancing, according to the guidance.

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School buses will be cleaned and disinfected once per day, with high-contact spots wiped down after the morning and afternoon trips, according to the guidance.

"Those high-surface, high-touch surface areas like handrails, seats, etc., will be sanitized in each run,” Dr. Jason Andrews, Superintendent of Schools for Windsor, told WBNG-TV. “At the end of the day our buses will be cleaned, we purchased disinfecting misting equipment so that the entire interior will be sanitized."

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to announce this week whether schools will reopen this fall.