We’re excited to have you ride with us this year, even though it will be under different circumstances than past years. There are a few important reminders, and new regulations, that you will want to pay close attention to. We have formulated some answers to some frequently asked questions around transportation here.
What’s expected of students?
We love transporting your (and our) precious cargo on our Rocket Buses. There are some basic expectations to follow while waiting for, boarding, riding, and exiting a bus. In addition, there are some new expectations around COVID:
- Students (and all passengers, for whatever reason) must wear a mask at all times while riding a bus. We strongly suggest they wear it at the bus stop, and apply it even before arriving at the stop.
- At the bus stop, students should space out appropriately away from other students, while keeping within the designated safety area (assigned by, and identified by their driver in the first week).
- On boarding the bus, the students are expected to move directly to their assigned seat, and sit down. While we will do our best to space kids out, we cannot guarantee a seat ratio on our buses. Therefore, sitting in the assigned seat, with hands and legs, and backpacks, stowed & ready to go, is a crucial component of riding safely.
- Students are expected to stay in their assigned seat at all times, with all body parts inside the seat area, keeping the center aisle clear, and never reaching out through a window or doorway with arms or legs.
- Students are expected to take, and follow, directions from the driver, just like they would from a teacher in a classroom. This becomes especially important in the event of an emergency. We will practice bus evacuations like normal this year – student cooperation is key to a safe exit in an emergency.
- Students should face forward, with feet / legs planted downward, hands under control. Most students will have a seat mate. Seat mates should not interact physically, fight, etc. but may of course strike up a normal conversation.
- TLDR; Mask on, ride safe!
What happens if a student cannot follow these guidelines?
From time to time, it might be difficult to keep all of the riding rules and guidelines for safe travel in mind. For those students who continue to veer too far from best practices, it’s likely the following will happen:
- A referral will be made by the bus driver to the Transportation Supervisor in writing. This referral will be sent on after review to the appropriate followup from the student’s building principal, and they will follow up with the student there.
- For continued troubles, a student may be suspended from transportation services for some time, and sometimes, for the remainder of the semester, or school year. This is not the same as being suspended from school. For example, a student that cannot comply with the directive to wear a face covering or mask while riding may be removed from services until a solution can be worked out.
What’s expected of parents?
We need all the help we can get from parents in order to make school transportation as safe and effective as we know it can be. Only with your help can we make sure kids are ready for school, the mask is on, and expectations understood.
More specifically, we need help with the following:
- Help your student understand the benefits of riding the bus safely, and need to wear a mask or face covering at all times.
- Check your student’s temperature before leaving the house. Too hot to handle? It’s best they stay home! Please do not send your sick or feverish student to school – that could jeopardize everyone around them, and put hundreds of others in danger.
- Reinforce the need to ride respectfully, safely, and to sit in the assigned seat. Help us make sure your student understand what is expected of them at all times, and what to do if they need help.
- Please know that the driver is not able to check temperatures at the bus, nor are they able to move about the bus to enforce the mask policy. We need help from you to send a clear message to our students that they are responsible for their own behavior on the bus, and together we can make it as successful as possible.
- Never board the bus – we cannot let you ride, or visit a seat, or get on to retrieve a student. If you need to speak with the driver, do so through the driver’s side window only. If you have concerns about your student’s route or bus, contact the office in writing at email@example.com
- TLDR; Help us communicate safe riding expectations, and keep sick kids home and off the bus.
What’s expected of our bus drivers & the bus fleet?
Our drivers are trained transportation professionals who attend annual in-service training on safe driving, emergency handling of a school bus, student management, and many other topics. They’re licensed by the State of Ohio to drive a larger vehicle, and are checked regularly to make sure they maintain proficiency. All are randomly drug tested throughout each year to comply with federal standards and laws. Many are long-time Streetsboro residents, and all of them are absolutely amazing!
Here’s what you can expect from our drivers:
- A courteous, professional, and friendly approach to a safe school bus ride.
- A person who cares for your student, and all of the students on the bus, and their safety before, during, and after their ride.
- A professional who takes pride in their work, often parents themselves, and who many of them your student will see in other positions during the rest of the school day; many of our team members also work in food services, student aide positions, after-school maintenance & custodial roles, and many of them take our athletic teams to away games.
Our fleet of buses is maintained daily by our head mechanic, and inspected annually, and monthly in spot inspections, by the Ohio Highway Patrol. All buses passed their annual inspections this summer with flying colors! All buses have been deep cleaned, disinfected, and are ready go. Here’s what will happen daily now, with COVID protocols:
- Each bus will be disinfected by the driver in between runs, using a chemical spray using Neutra-Stat 64. This chemical is used throughout our buildings, and have been for years, as a general disinfectant and cleaner. Seats, window areas, and other high-touch areas will be disinfected each time. At the end of the day, we do it again!
- In a weekly rotation, we will use a fogger to apply a disinfectant to each bus for a more thorough cleaning cycle – this fog will get up under seats, in all the cracks & crevices, and more completely disinfect the bus. We hope to be as productive as we can, and disinfect as many buses as we can this way each day.
When will bus stop locations & times be communicated?
We will send out all-calls and email blasts closer to when school starts. The period leading up to school remains dynamic for many reasons – students enroll, students leave the district, and so forth. It is crucial that you have indicated your transportation need in Final Forms. Without it, we don’t know you want a ride, and likely haven’t routed you. No need to call the office – check your Final Forms entries, first!
Here’s what else you need to know now about bus stops:
- It is very likely not the same time, or even place, as last year. Do not make that assumption.
- We route and design our overall schema from a safety perspective, and build in efficiency and equity where we can. Sometimes, it is not possible to pickup door-side, at which point we will ask your student to cross the street.
- All bus stop times are approximate, but like before, you’ll be able to track your bus using GPS. Keep in mind that the GPS signal is about 20-40 seconds delayed.
- Students are only permitted to ride from / back to the assigned stop. If you need a change, you must contact the office in writing. There will be a form available closer to school starting for those purposes – look for it on the website. We do not grant daily change requests – only permanent, semester long changes.
- Legally, a public school district is only required to transport from / back to the student’s residence. When possible, we make every effort to transport daycare students, etc. We only transport from / to the already established, larger, daycare establishments in Streetsboro.
What kind of mask will be required, and will I have to wear one on the bus?
There are lots of mask models to pick from – N95, respirators, home made, cloth, gaiter, and so on. Here are some good choices:
- 3-ply one-time use masks (the white & blue model, with a crimping nose piece).
- N95+ or any other snug fitting commercial mask.
- Home made cloth face covering that is made from at least 2 layers. Single layer is not recommended.
- A mask that can, and must, keep covered the mouth & nose at all times, without constant readjusting.
- Kids masks may need to be sized differently than adult masks.
- Masks must filter both on the way in, and more importantly, on the way out (exhalation). A single layer neck gaiter is not a good idea, and will not meet the requirement for a safe ride.
- Face shields are an excellent addition to the face mask – but does not take the place of the mask. It’s mask, or mask & face shield, but never just face shield on its own.
If your student does not have a mask while attempting to board the bus, we’ll give them one – a 3-ply model. But we only have so many, and can’t supply your student all year long. Please plan accordingly.
Furthermore, the CDC recommends that:
- People wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- Masks may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.
- Masks are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings.
- Masks should NOT be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- Masks with exhalation valves or vents should NOT be worn to help prevent the person wearing the mask from spreading COVID-19 to others (source control).
What are the steps to wearing a mask correctly?
The CDC recommends the following steps to wearing a mask correctly:
- Wash your hands before putting on your mask
- Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
- Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face
- Make sure you can breathe easily
- CDC does not recommend use of masks or cloth masks for source control if they have an exhalation valve or vent
To see a video of what it looks like when a middle school student applies a 3-ply mask correctly, visit this YouTube link: https://youtu.be/49CrJo1_hHo
Have the routes changed from last year?
Yes. We have created routes around safety, efficiency, equity, and population clusters.
Will Maplewood students still be transported?
Of course! Maplewood students ride in on our high school buses, and like in the past, will transfer to the Maplewood shuttle in the morning. In the afternoon, Maplewood students will ride back home on elementary buses to their residence.
Will LEAP students still be transported?
Of course! Look for more information about transportation to LEAP from our Board Office in the next few days.
My student rides to a non-public school or STEM school – will they still be transported?
Depends on what non-public or STEM school they attend. This year, we’re providing school bus service to the following non-public schools or STEM schools:
- Seton Catholic (in Hudson)
- Valley Christian Academy (in Aurora)
- St. Patrick’s (in Kent)
- BIOMED (in Ravenna and Shalersville)
Watch for separate ride information to / from these schools before our official start date of 9/1, as we’ll provide shuttle service like in the past from our middle school to the designated non-public school.
Furthermore, if you haven’t specifically requested service according to Board policy (by May 31st of the that same school year – this year, May 31, 2020 for school year 2020-2021), you may not be routed. You must also register completely and fully in Final Forms before transportation service can be granted.
I have a question / comment / concern – what can I do?
We understand that there are many new things to think about for this school year – we’re as concerned as you are, and have taken every measure of precaution we can think of to make it a safe ride.
But, it will take the entire team to make it successful – the students, parents, our amazing drive team, teachers, aides, and so on! If you have a question – send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll get back to you.
However – we will not be sending out bus stop locations and times that way – look for that at a later date.
Thank you, and see you soon on the bus!
Director of Operations
Streetsboro City Schools
And P.S. – if you know someone who might be a good fit for our team (school bus driver), send them my way!