Horry County School District bus drivers battle bacteria and flu virus

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) Bus drivers are the first line of defense when it comes to stopping germs and sickness from coming in to the school.

Bus drivers say you can multiply the number of children on a bus by itself, and it will tell you how many germs are there. For example, if one bus carries 32 children, then there are more than 1,000 germs inside that vehicle alone.

So drivers have to make sure when they pick up and drive your child, they're not also picking up and driving bacteria to get your child sick. When it comes to cleaning the bus, drivers are only required to sweep and pick up trash every day. But as we get closer to the peak of flu season, some bus drivers are going the extra mile. They're doing extra wipe downs of seats, windows, and ceilings anything that can be a collection place.

Buses can hold and keep germs, especially when it's cold- because it's an enclosed space with the windows up, so it can be a prime time for germs to spread around in the air. For the two and a half hours buses are filled with kids every day, drivers are doing what they can to keep them from being filled with germs.

"As far as drivers it's up to us to give them as clean as possible an environment on their way to school," said bus driver Susan Grainger. "And to home. Just going through the windows and seats. Things they like to put their hands on. They're kids. Kids like to explore with their fingers."

The school district says once a number of children are reported to be sick at a certain, then transportation is notified, and all the buses go through cleaning to help keep viruses from spreading. This is something the district isn't worried about right now, but school nurses say it's only a matter of weeks before you'll start to see viruses and sickness spread. So they are really gearing up to take flu season head on. This is something they take seriously, as they say not many parents take their children to get vaccinated for the flu.

And the low number of students getting flu vaccines means schools have a higher awareness of what causes the virus to spread. This is a team effort- the school district tells me custodians, teachers, and school nurses are all doing what they can, cleaning frequently touched places like desk and doorknobs. And they're also showing kids how to keep from spreading germs.

But the district still pushes for parents to get their children vaccinated, as kids not getting shots can add to the problem of the flu spreading. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention asks that children and adults get the vaccine. But overall, the number of people getting flu shots is growing. There was a small spike in people rolling up their sleeves to get one last year.

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