Heading back to school this fall isn't going to be business as usual.

Students taking the bus will find a lot has changed.

John Barbato, CEO of Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium (SCSTC), explained many safety measures are in place for this upcoming school year.

"First and foremost, we're asking that students practice safe physical distancing at the bus stop," said Barbato.

The SCSTC serves both the public and Catholic school boards in Simcoe County, roughly 36,000 students.

The number of routes and buses remains the same, and every bus will be cleaned twice a day.

Barbato said that while buses can run at full capacity, it's rare that they max out on school routes.

And just like in-school practices, students in grades four to 12 must wear a face mask during their bus ride. Younger students are not mandated to wear face coverings, but it is encouraged.

"You'll notice the bus driver wearing a mask and a shield when they welcome you onto the bus," said Barbato.

Students will be assigned seats on the bus through a number system, similar to a plane ticket, to ensure contact tracing accuracy.

"Rest assured, we will have a spare mask if your child forgets it," Barbato said.

Barbato took the opportunity to remind students about COVID-19 precautions and everyday safety rules when taking the school bus.

"Stay safely back from the roadways as the bus approaches, watch for the stoplights and the stop arm on the bus. Hold the handrail, sit and put your backpack on your lap and enjoy the ride," Barbato added.

The SCSTC is following the Ministry of Education guidelines closely for the safety of both staff and students.