ABOUT 70 SCHOOL buses of all kinds and sizes are orderly parked at the Shoreline School District Transportation Center this bright and sunny afternoon. I could partially spot them from the street, but the nice folks at the district let me step inside the lot to get a much better viewpoint for my sketch.

The bus in the foreground is a Blue Bird, and the rest behind it are Internationals, said Sam Long, a friendly district employee wearing a face mask with the UW logo, as he gave me a tour of the facility at Northeast 165th Street and 15th Avenue Northeast.

Long said things at the depot don’t look much different than any other summer before school starts. It’s quiet, and I see a mechanic working on one of the buses. But with this district and many others starting school in full remote-learning mode due to the coronavirus pandemic, we both know the iconic yellow buses won’t soon be roaming the neighborhoods as usual.

While no one enjoys getting stuck behind a school bus, including me, I sure am going to miss seeing kids spilling in and out of them this fall. Long said it’s not because of the buses themselves. “People will miss them for what they represent: a sense of normalcy, kids going back to school en masse again.”