The Ultimate Guide to Student Transportation Post Pandemic

Helping ensure safe student transportation as schools reopen during COVID-19.

Nothing is more important to Zum than the health and safety of students and drivers. Zum has created the Ultimate Guide to support school district administrators, industry partners, and community leaders responsible for student transportation and the safe reopening of schools.

To protect students, drivers, and community stakeholders during the pandemic, Zum has enhanced our safety procedures based on CDC recommendations, local guidelines, and advice from public health experts. Zum has also added new tools and capabilities within the Zum platform to optimize, plan, manage, and monitor student transportation during this uncertain period. Platform enhancements include Dynamic Route Planning, Contact Tracing, and Health and Safety Certifications, among other capabilities designed to promote social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Ultimate Guide not only outlines Zum’s commitments but also includes links to relevant webinars, public health research, and valuable resources such as communication toolkits and sample district safety plans. The Ultimate Guide provides information to guide school and district administrators, parents, and community leaders as they plan for reopening schools post pandemic.

We will be updating the Ultimate Guide on a regular basis with links to new resources, recent webinars, and community guidelines developed in partnership with experts across the education and public health sectors. If you have questions, suggestions or additional resources to contribute, please email us at Each week, the most recent updates to the Ultimate Guide will be highlighted and posted at the top of their respective section.

1. Zum Back-to-School Recommendations

Planning for Reopening – Practices

  • Over communicate by default
  • Connect with others
  • Make time for brainstorming and creativity
  • Align with the district and department specific goals
  • Focus on one thing at a time

Planning for Reopening – Strategic Considerations

  • Crowding in the classrooms
  • Crowding in the playgrounds
  • Crowding in the transportation
  • Crowding in cafeterias

Planning for Reopening – Scheduling & Procedures

  • Create A/B schedules, morning and afternoon shifts or alternating days of the week, to reduce student class sizes and promote social distancing
  • Identify multiple pick up and drop off locations across different areas of the campus to avoid overcrowding near pickup and drop off zones
  • Check students temperature before students board the vehicle
  • Require drivers and students (or the students’ parents / guardians) to certify their health status by answering a series of simple questions before each ride
  • Ensure proper use of PPE during each ride
  • Distribute hand sanitizer for use by students, drivers, teachers, and other school administrators
  • Place hand sanitizing stations around campus, especially in high traffic areas
  • Mandate temperature checks for every person entering school grounds
  • Place a plastic barrier in vehicles to separate the driver and backseat passengers
  • Require all students to wipe down their backpacks and any personal items before entering the classroom
  • Keep windows slightly open in the vehicle when possible while students are riding
  • Require students to eat in classrooms to promote social distancing and avoid overcrowding in the cafeteria
  • Encourage students to remain six feet apart from each other during recess and other activities

Using the Zum Platform to Plan for Back to School

Zum has enhanced our proprietary technology platform with tools for multi-scenario planning and dynamic route creation to help guide schools through this uncertain time with:

  • Dynamic Route Planning – Allows schools to dynamically create or update routing and save districts hours of time as schools transition to A/B schedules or staggered bell times in order to support social distancing and smaller class sizes.
  • Contact Tracing – Helps districts monitor contact for any student or driver while taking a ride on the Zum platform, and use in-app messaging to quickly and easily notify school administrators and students’ parents or guardians regarding potential exposure to COVID-19.
  • Health & Safety Certifications – Enables schools to record and report drivers’ and riders’ commitments that to the best of their knowledge they are asymptomatic and have not been exposed to COVID-19 prior to service.
  • Safe Seating – Designed for school districts to manage routing, customize vehicle capacity requirements, and assign safe student seating with riders seated far enough apart to maintain social distancing.
  • Student Specific Instructions – Designed to protect the health and safety of students, especially our most vulnerable students, by documenting and communicating any specific instructions provided by district administrators and parents in order to help drivers understand and meet students’ individual needs.
  • App Based Reminders – Easy Zum app based reminders and tracking the use of face masks and personal protective equipment by both rides and drivers as well as sanitization of surfaces in the vehicle before and after every ride.
  • Scheduling and Communication Tools – These tools automatically adjust pickup/dropoff times and locations within a campus to minimize crowding post-COVID-19.

2. Zum Webinars

Past Webinars

Updated 7/24/2020


[7/22/2020] – Social Emotional Well-Being: Supporting Students and Staff Transition Back To School

Date: July 22, 2020 from 10:00 – 11:00 am PT (Pacific Time)

Resources Shared:

Webinar Replay: Click here to watch

Webinar 2

[6/24/2020] – Stronger Together: Cross District Collaboration Post Pandemic

Date: June 24, 2020 from 10:00 – 11:00 am PT (Pacific Time)


  • Dave Marken, Ed.D. – Superintendent of Schools at Dublin Unified School District
  • Jody Miller, M.Ed., BCBA – Head of Esther B. Clark Schools at the Children’s Health Council

Webinar Replay: Click here to watch

Webinar 1

[5/27/2020] – Safety & Social Distancing: Student Transportation Post Pandemic

Date: May 27, 2020 from 10:00 – 11:00 am PT (Pacific Time)


  • Kimberly Raney – Executive Director of Transportation & Logistics at Oakland Unified School District
  • Liz Sanchez – Chief Operating Officer & SVP at National Express LLC
  • Ritu Narayan – Founder & CEO at Zum Services

Webinar Replay: Click here to watch

3. Deep Dives

Zum’s Safety and Social Distancing Plan: Student Transportation During COVID-19

Plan de Seguridad & Distanciamiento Social: Transporte de estudiantes durante COVID-19

CDC Schools and Child Care programs

CDC Social Media Toolkit

COVID-19 Videos

4. State Plans For Reopening & Additional Resources

[CA School Board Association] Governor and Legislature reach budget deal sparing cuts; details slow to emerge
Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature struck a budget deal Monday that reportedly preserves K–12 funding in the short term and relies heavily on deferrals to help the state close its $54 billion shortfall.

[CA Department of Education] Coronavirus Response and School Reopening Guidance
This guidance was created through the statewide reopening schools task force that fostered a collaborative process for our educators and stakeholders to lend their important voices. Also informed by the technical assistance and advice of many health and safety organizations including the Centers for Disease Control, California Department of Public Health, California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the intent of this document is to be a guide for the local discussion on safely reopening schools.

[CO Department of Education] Planning the 2020-21 School Year
As the situation evolves, the CO Department of Education will continue to gather feedback, add resources, and expand on these considerations to help readers think through these complicated times. This toolkit is continually updated. In each new update, this area will note key additions or changes since the prior version.

[KY Department of Education] Reopening Guidance
The department provides resources and guidance to Kentucky’s public schools and districts as they reopen schools in the wake of COVID-19.

[Kentucky Teacher Publication] KDE releases guidance on alternative learning strategies for reopening schools | Kentucky Teacher
The Kentucky Department of Education released guidance on June 8 on ways to safely structure instruction and learning when schools reopen in the fall.

[IL State Board of Education] 2020-2021 School Year Transition Joint Guidance
This document is Part Three of the Transition Advisory Workgroup’s recommendations for transitioning to in-person instruction. This document has been developed in partnership with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

[IL State Board of Education] COVID-19 Resources
SBE is working in partnership with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to ensure we are providing the most current resources and guidance to support Illinois education communities regarding the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.

[TX Education Agency] COVID-19 Resources
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) continues to work with the Office of the Governor, Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to coordinate and plan the state’s response to COVID-19. TEA’s role in these efforts is to help coordinate the flow of information from the state to districts, help districts solve problems, and provide guidance that will aid in districts’ decision-making. TEA does not have the general authority to close schools for matters related to health. This authority lies with the local health authority, DSHS, and the Governor of Texas.

[WA Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction] COVID-19 Information
OSPI is committed to providing ongoing guidance and resources as we experience this unprecedented situation together. The most current guidance and resources are provided below.

5. Online Resources

[Education Next] Toward Reopening: What Will School Look Like this Fall?
With the pandemic-impacted spring semester wrapped up across the country, the focus is now on the fall, when districts will need to translate public health guidance from organizations like the Centers for Disease Control into local implementation to reopen schools.

[School Superintendents Association] Guidelines For Reopening Schools
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, the nation’s premier organization representing and supporting superintendents and other public school district leaders, is pleased to release today a consensus-driven set of guidelines for reopening schools effectively in the COVID-19 environment.

[Learning Policy Institute] Reopening Schools in the Context of COVID-19: Guidelines From Other Countries
Summary of health and safety practices during the COVID-19 pandemic in China, Denmark, Norway, Singapore, and Taiwan.

[School Transportation News] No ‘Easy Button’ Available to Student Transporters in Response to Coronavirus
As more state guidance becomes available and some school districts start transporting students again for summer school, health experts express concern regarding school transportation operations while also providing potential solutions going forward.

[Journal of Pediatrics] Reopening Schools Safely: The Case for Collaboration, Constructive Disruption of Pre-COVID Expectations, and Creative Solutions
Medical journal publication describing methods for a safe return to school.

[Center for Health Security] Filling in the Blanks: National Research Needs to Guide Decisions about Reopening Schools in the United States
This report focuses primarily on research needed to improve the evidence base relating to children, teachers, and other staff in daycare and in schools serving pre-K through 12th grade.

[National Association of School Nurses] Coronavirus Disease 2019 Resources
Resource guide put out by the National Association of School Nurses including relevant information about the CDC response and working with other groups to provide resources to school nurses.

[School Transportation News] Rethinking School Startup for Students with Special Needs
Post-pandemic brings new realities, problem-solving to the issues of mandated transportation for the most vulnerable student population.

[Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] Coronavirus Information Center
Resources for understanding how to best protect yourself from COVID-19 and what to do if you become infected.

[World Health Organization] Advice to the Public
World Health Organization’s guide to protecting yourself and others from the spread COVID-19.

[EPA] Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2
Environmental Protection Agency’s list of disinfectants for use against COVID19.

[CARES Act & GEER Funding Resources] ExcelinEd Resource Page
As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the U.S. Department of Education made available almost $3 billion for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER). This page details ways to leverage this funding.

[Bay Area Metro] Study: Opening car window can prevent COVID-19 transmission
As restrictions begin to ease in the Bay Area, a new Harvard-led study suggests opening a car window slightly can help keep COVID-19 from spreading in vehicles.

[NY Times] In Denmark, the Rarest of Sights: Classrooms Full of Students
Danish elementary schools have become the first in Europe to reopen after shutting down for the coronavirus. Our reporter visited one in southern Denmark, which could become a template for a post-lockdown world.

[Insider] How 6 countries are opening up schools again, with temperature checks, outdoor classes, and spaced out desks
In a handful of countries, where coronavirus risks have declined, some schools are beginning to open their doors to students.

[The Guardian] Split classes, outdoor lessons: what Denmark can teach England about reopening schools after Covid-19
Danish transition out of lockdown has become the go-to model for Boris Johnson’s government.

[Ed Trust] 10 Questions for Equity Advocates to Ask About Distance Learning
The Education Trust and Digital Promise have put together a guide to some of the biggest challenges around the broad category of equity, complete with steps for identifying issues and taking concrete steps to address them.

Cloth Face Coverings for Children
Did you know that children under age 2 should not wear cloth face masks? Learn the facts, including when and where children older than age 2 should wear them.

Countering COVID-19 Stigma and Racism
Though COVID-19 initially began spreading in China, it’s important that our children understand the disease is linked to a geographic location — not to a race or nationality. The virus offers an opportunity to avoid stereotypes and instead model acceptance and compassion.

6. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources

Added 7/24/2020

CASEL SEL Roadmap for Reopening Schools – As educators across the country prepare to welcome students and adults back to school, CASEL recently released Reunite, Renew, and Thrive: Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Roadmap for Reopening School. CASEL designed the roadmap to support school leadership teams in planning the transition back to school, whether in a physical or distance learning environment.


Academic and Lifetime Outcomes:

Health Outcomes:

Student Assessment:

Classroom Instruction:

Teacher Professional Development: