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Cove bus drivers trained to keep passengers even safer during pandemic

Posted Date: 08/19/2021

Cove bus drivers trained to keep passengers even safer during pandemic

COPPERAS COVE, TX (August 18, 2021)—Copperas Cove ISD students traveled 503,306 miles on school buses during the 2020-2021 school year. Riding a school bus to school is historically the safest mode of transportation for children. Copperas Cove ISD Transportation Department employees intend to keep it that way.

When students returned to campuses on Tuesday, bus drivers continued to sanitize high touch surfaces as each rider boarded the bus and sanitized in between routes. The CCISD Transportation Department will continue the tradition of providing excellent service to Copperas Cove students and campuses, said Gary Elliott, CCISD Director of Transportation.

“The drivers I cannot say enough about. They are the first contact for students in the morning and the last in the evening,” Elliott said.

The district currently employs 65 bus drivers and 22 aides. All received extensive training in COVID-19 mitigation strategies including sanitizing their buses and other health and safety protocol. Drivers demonstrated their capabilities during the pandemic last year and by transporting students to campuses for summer school while also keeping fleet maintenance vehicles on the road.

Buses are thoroughly disinfected after each bus trip, particularly high-touch surfaces such as bus seats, steering wheel, knobs, windows, and door handles. During cleaning, drivers open windows to allow for additional ventilation and airflow, which is helpful in mitigating COVID-19 spread.

Copperas Cove ISD currently has 93 buses in its fleet. CCISD buses are equipped with a four-camera system with video cameras mounted in both the front and the rear and air conditioning. CCISD Deputy Superintendent of Operations and Support Services Rick Kirkpatrick said being a bus driver is a very difficult but very rewarding job.

“I am proud of each and every one of these employees,” Kirkpatrick said. “These devoted folks work long hours, travel all over the state, manage up to 50 students alone while driving, and still keep our students safe.”

CCISD is in need of 15 additional drivers. Starting pay for bus drivers is $14.65 per hour with a guarantee of five hours per day. New drivers receive a $400 sign-on bonus with the district paying for their Class B Commercial Drivers’ License after one full year of employment.

Candidates but possess a Class B CDL, P&S endorsements, and complete a 20-hour Department of Public Safety certification class for which the fee is paid by CCISD. Drivers must also pass a background check, driver record history check, and annual physical.

Elliott, his secretary, Bonnie Edmonds, and all employees in the transportation department are certified bus drivers to assist whenever a driver calls in sick or needs time away from work or the district is short on drivers.



CCISD has not had a fatality-related school bus accident in more than 40 years despite traveling thousands of miles and transporting thousands of students every day. Here are the statistics of the CCISD Transportation Department for the 2020-2021 school year.

  • Transported 4.092 students daily
  • Drove 155 routes daily
  • Drove 589,002 miles last year, 2,960 miles daily on regular routes
  • Drove 47,008 extracurricular miles (sporting events, band contest, field trips, etc.)
  • Drove 503,306 total miles in the 2020-2021 school year


Contact Information

Copperas Cove Independent School District
408 S. Main Street
COPPERAS COVE, Texas 76522
Phone: 254-547-1227