During the Bryan school board workshop earlier this week, the district trustees approved allowing two of its older school buses to be donated to the county’s AmbuBus program.

Both buses, which are 18 to 20 years old, will be used by the county as a transport vehicle and to promote education and health services in the community.

The district approved a memorandum of understanding between the district and the county that donates the buses to the county for three years. During that time, the county will be responsible for insuring, maintaining and equipping the buses, said Harry Wright, attorney for the Bryan school district, on Monday.

Julea Johnson, executive director of instructional support at the school district, clarified the two donated full-size school buses were going to be put up for auction but were pulled off the listing to be used by the county.

The two new buses will replace older ones the county had been using that are no longer functional, Heather Matthews, public health emergency preparedness coordinator at Brazos County Health District, said.

The bus that will be converted into an AmbuBus will be used for mass evacuations. All of the bench seats will be taken out, with a 12-cot system put in their place.

If a real-world event that causes mass casualties — such as an explosion — happens in Brazos County, Matthews said, “that bus would be used for a transport bus to transport people on cots. It holds up to 12 people to do that. … Hopefully we will never, ever have to use them, but if we actually have a real-world event, we’ll be ready, because we’ll have what we need.”

The county will be responsible for driving the AmbuBus and getting it inspected each month, she said.

The second bus will retain most of its existing seating and will be used for community outreach, including health education, administering immunizations and distributing food boxes to those who need.

“We might take a couple out of the back just to make room for the food boxes instead of having those benches in the way, but that bus we can do all sorts of stuff with, because that one we really want to educate, going out into the community,” she said, noting many people do not realize everything the health district does.

Though the buses were no longer needed by the school district, Matthews said, she is happy to get older buses because they are typically easier to maintain than newer buses with new technology.

Also during Monday’s school board meeting, the trustees recognized the Human Resources Department staff in honor of Texas Education Human Resources Day and heard updates on the district’s bilingual and ESL program, mentor teaching, research and evaluation and new employee orientation.

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