Bad Weather Closings and Delays: Considerations for Pupil Transportation

school bus routing software, school bus safety, transportation management, pupil transportation planning

shutterstock_216683782.jpgSchool districts and their transportation departments are often required to make tough calls to ensure student safety. One of the many challenges that administrators face is inclement weather, no matter the time of the year.

Depending on where in North America you live, certain weather events can pose extreme hazards to students and staff. Preparing for severe weather should be a part of any school district’s emergency plan. The National Weather Service has developed a set of guidelines intended to help school administrators and emergency management personnel create a personalized weather preparedness plan that fits their unique needs.

Pupil Transportation Considerations

Any school emergency plan should include guidelines for pupil transportation. Bus drivers must know what to do when severe weather strikes. The experts at the National Weather Service recommend the following:

  • Communicate with drivers via a central dispatch point or through school officials. Weather updates should be provided, whenever possible, in advance of potential severe weather.
  • Include severe weather drills in driver and manager training sessions.
  • Drivers should be made aware of possible shelters that they can utilize, when needed, along their routes. These shelters can include caves, basements or public buildings.
  • When a Tornado Watch is in effect, coordinate in advance what actions a bus driver should take if a tornado is sighted.
  • Keep a regular school bus maintenance schedule that accounts for weather changes.
  • Provide training for school bus drivers to prepare them for driving in severe weather conditions.

Weather and School Bus Route Planning

All types of weather concerns can call for school districts to plan alternate route schedules. Without the right tools, this process can easily turn into a nightmare. Fortunately, today’s bus routing technology allows school transportation departments to create customized routes that consider a variety of factors.

By utilizing “what if” scenarios and user-defined criteria that considers weather hazards such as flooding, ice, and snow piles, transportation officials can create unlimited alternate routes for emergency situations. GPS technology allows districts to monitor bus routes in real-time so that administrators are immediately alerted to potential problems.

If you’d like to learn more about bus fleet management and the tools available to keep your students safe, contact the team of transportation experts at BusBoss.

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How has your school district incorporated pupil transportation into their emergency preparedness plan? Feel free to share your experiences with us.