Driving past COVID: Noblesville High School bus drivers tell us how they have been adapting to COVID regulations


Bus driver Dworkus stands proudly inside his bus

McKenzie Vitale and Anna Guinn

The bus is quiet. Students sit distantly with earphones in during morning hours. They line up in hoards entering the school, and for a few hours the buses are silent. This changes drastically by the time afternoon rolls around. Students line up, three to a seat. This is almost doubling the population of students prior to the afternoon. This influx of students is to be expected by drivers with experience from previous years, but new challenges have arisen after students returned back to school full time.

Because of the excessive amounts of students and the lack of drivers to transport them, many bus drivers are forced to drive multiple routes. Bus driver Curt Epp views the absence of drivers first hand.

“We, here at Noblesville, do have mechanics filling in and office staff filling in,” Epp said, “There aren’t any routes that are un-ran that I’m aware of.”

Last year, many students who took the bus for transportation to and from school can recall the ominously quiet and empty feeling the busses had, but now that school is back in session and limits have been revoked, what’s it like on the buses nowadays? 

Kellee Boeche has been a part of the bus driving community for 15 years and currently drives for the Noblesville School District. She recalls how this year’s bus situation differs from pre-COVID affairs.

“There has been an increase of students since last year. However, my numbers are about the same as the years prior to COVID,” Boeche said.

With this influx of students, one can only wonder what the faculty and bus driving staff do in order to keep not only the students safe, but themselves as well.

“The school system is providing us with masks, cleaning spray to clean the bus seats, and regular communication of COVID through emails,” Beoche said. Throughout the buses you can even see name tags above each seat, assigning seats to each and every child that steps on and off the bus. 

As the schools COVID precautions ease, many bus drivers continue their cleaning routines. Richard Dworkus, a bus driver for the Noblesville School District, finds comfort in cleaning his bus.

“I feel it is doing good,” Dworkus said. “It’s not mandatory to spray anymore, but I still spray after the kids get off the bus.”

Now it seems as if school is back to normal, or as normal as it can get, as students fill the buses with their laughter and conversations, now two to a seat. Even with the pre-COVID normality being restored, COVID precautions are still just a reminder of how the world has changed.

“I think they need to continue to wear their masks,” Dworkus said, supporting the NHS mask mandate but reminiscing on pre-pandemic bus rides. “The one thing I miss is seeing the kids’ smiles.”

As students and staff adjust to this new life post-COVID, many observers have noted that the emotional impact of the pandemic has not failed to bring the Noblesville Millers closer, and maybe soon Dworkus and many other bus drivers will get to greet the smiling faces of the students at Noblesville High School once again.