MACON, Ga. — Under a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order, mask-wearing will be required on all forms of public transportation. If you refuse to wear a mask, you'll be violating the law.
The order requires people wear masks when awaiting, boarding, traveling on, or exiting public transportation. The order became effective on February 1, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. (EST).
A viewer reached out wondering whether this mandate applies to school buses, so we set out to verify. Our sources are Peach County Schools Transportation Director Phillip Bakon, Laurens County Schools Transportation Director Greg Pauldo, and the CDC.
The CDC issued an 11-page order requiring the wearing of masks on all forms of public transportation in the U.S. to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Does this apply to school buses? We reached out directly to the CDC and the answer is yes. Jason McDonald from their media team provided this statement:
"School buses are included because the order applies to state and local conveyance operators (public schools), and passengers onboard such conveyances. The order also applies to private school buses because these are conveyances operated for a non-personal, commercial use."
Greg Pauldo and Phillip Bakon say masks were already required on buses. Houston County Schools Director of Transportation Tom Walmer says the district also requires masks.
This CDC order allows them to continue enforcing this rule. Bus drivers provide children with masks if they don't have one.
“We started this, once we started school in September, all the buses keep the masks on the bus,” said Pauldo.
“We've had this instituted since August 2020 once we started back school. It's been very effective, and helping us to make sure that students are protected, as well as our drivers being protected,” said Bakon.
The CDC order says, "America's transportation systems are essential. Buses bring America's children and teachers to school."
Both Pauldo and Bakon say they've talked to their drivers about the importance of the new mandate.
“Because, you know, some parents get upset, 'Why do my kids have to wear a mask?' And we try to explain to them, with everybody bungled up together, we need to protect each and everybody,” said Pauldo.
“We're starting to see these mandates come out because these things are proved to be effective at protecting people from the virus,” said Bakon.