More than 25 million children ride the yellow bus every school day, and National School Bus Safety Week serves as a reminder for students, parents, teachers, and the community to keep school bus safety top of mind.
IDEA Public Schools leverages the week to highlight the impact of our transportation team, honor our bus drivers and share important safety tips across the various modes of transportation for our scholars- bus riders, car riders, and walkers.
IDEA bus drivers transport our scholars on approximately 307 routes each day including 248 regular routes, 45 Pre-K routes, and 14 special education routes. In total, our transportation division drives more than 11,000 miles each day and will travel more than 2.5 million miles this school year.
IDEA’s Transportation Department has found success in both safety and efficiency by using an app for parents called Here Comes the Bus®. Powered by software from Synovia Solutions, parents and students can customize their bus route, and always track the bus’s location as one would on any GPS platform.
Parents can use a single account to track several children’s route activities. From any smartphone, tablet, or computer, they can even see when the bus has entered their neighborhood stop’s proximity and get real-time notifications each time a child enters or exits the bus.
Guillermo Tamayo, Campus Transportation Manager at IDEA Robindale, says keeping children safe on the bus and at school should be everyone’s main priority as many accidents can be avoided by simply staying alert.
“Distracted driving, speeding, and failing to follow traffic signs can have serious consequences for students, bus drivers, and other persons on the road,” says Tamayo. “Following the simple traffic rules and staying alert can save lives.”
Tamayo says he realizes the importance of his role as each of his passenger’s days begin and end right there on the bus.
“School bus transportation is how we connect children from their neighborhoods to the classroom. We are the first ones to see our students in the morning, and the last ones to say goodbye at the end of the day,” he continues. “Our students are our responsibility the minute they set foot on our buses, and we want them to look forward to coming to school safe, happy, and ready to learn.”
Here are tips from the National Association for Pupil Transportation to help keep our scholars safe at the bus stop.
Getting Ready for School
Have your children put everything they carry in a backpack or school bag so that they won’t drop things along the way.
Encourage them to wear bright, contrasting colors so they will be more easily seen by drivers.
Make sure children leave home on time so they can arrive at the bus stop before it is due, ideally at least five minutes early. Running after or in front of a bus is dangerous.
Walking to the Bus Stop
Walk young children to the bus stop or encourage children to walk in groups. There is safety in numbers; groups are easier for drivers to see.
Practice good pedestrian behavior: walk on the sidewalk, and if there is no sidewalk stay out of the street. If you must walk in the street, walk single file, face traffic and stay as close to the edge of the road as you can.
Stop and look left, right and then left again if you must cross the street. Do the same thing at driveways and alleys.
Exaggerate your head turns and narrate your actions so your child knows you are looking left, right and left.
At the Bus Stop
Have children wait in a location where the driver can see them while driving down the street. Try to avoid waiting in a house or car.
Do not let children play in the street. Playing with balls or other toys that could roll into the street is also dangerous.
Getting On and Off the Bus
Warn children that if they drop something getting on and off the bus, they should never pick it up. Instead, they should tell the driver and follow the driver’s instructions.
Remind children to look to the right before they step off the bus.
If you meet your child at the bus stop after school, wait on the side where the child will be dropped off, not across the street. Children can be so excited to see you after school that they dash across the street and forget the safety rules.
Here at IDEA Public Schools, we’re tremendously proud of our transportation team members. Thank you for your passion, dedication and your commitment to keeping our students safe.
For more information on National School Bus Safety Week, visit www.napt.org and don’t forget to like, comment and follow our #NationalSchoolBusSafetyWeek posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram this week.