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Considering the Future of the Yellow School Bus

What's going to happen to the traditional yellow school bus in the years ahead?

Given how much the COVID-19 outbreak has shaken up industries and economies around the world, a lot of people are wondering what it means for the future of school bus transportation. Assuming that schools will eventually fully reopen and resume 'business as usual,' will there be any long term impacts on the transportation systems?

Addressing Driver Shortage: Reducing School Bus Routes

It's harder than ever for school districts to find enough drivers for their school bus routes. The driver shortage was a problem even before the COVID-19 outbreak, and now it's only gotten worse. An estimated 80% of schools are having trouble finding enough drivers, and that's a big problem when schools are legally mandated to provide transportation to their students.

Increase Your School Bus Drivers' Morale With Public Recognition!

There was a recent feature on STN about Tim Cribley, a Michigan school bus driver who was declared a “Bus Guardian Hero.” Cribley got a well-deserved moment in the sun. It was a chance for the school to highlight the great work he’d done for the district. 

So, why doesn’t this happen more often?

School Bus Industry: Front-line Heroes

 We recently saw a wonderful article from School Transportation News (STN) highlighting some of the most extraordinary things done by school bus drivers in the past year.  The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak challenged service workers around the world to step up, but few outside of the healthcare industry have done more than bus drivers.

Training School Bus Drivers for Worst-Case Scenarios

No one enjoys contemplating the worst things that can go wrong, but when students' lives are on the line, it's important to consider as many scenarios as possible. That's why it's so important to supplement your regular school bus driver training with special lessons focusing on disasters, medical emergencies, criminal activity, and other low-probability/high-risk events that might potentially happen on the road.

There's no definitive list of everything which could go wrong, of course, but we have some suggestions for elements to add to your school bus driver training program.

Four Big Challenges School Bus Drivers Face

Being a bus driver is never easy, but the job has become particularly difficult with the COVID-19 coronavirus still threatening the country. On top of their other responsibilities, bus drivers are now expected to do much of the heavy lifting in protecting students' health while onboard their buses.

Is your district doing everything they can to support your drivers? Better policies and updated school bus driver training can make their lives easier while increasing safety for the students. 

Protecting Your School Bus Drivers As Schools Reopen

As schools look to reopen in Fall 2020 despite the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, one of the biggest challenges will be in successfully adapting their student bus transportation system. When crafting safety plans, it's vital that one group not go overlooked: your bus drivers.

Does Your School Bus Safety Plan Overlook Critical Dangers?

When was the last time you ran a tornado drill for a school bus?

It's a simple question, but in our experience, a lot of districts get uncomfortable when you ask it. Now, if you can answer "recently!" then that's great - but too many districts tend to focus their disaster preparedness almost entirely on the school itself. This leaves a critical school bus safety gap, if the bus is ever caught in a weather disaster or other major unpredictable event.

It's impossible to foresee every eventuality, but most districts could still implement some new safety measures and help improve student safety - and usually at a low cost.

Eight Tips for Recruiting School Bus Drivers

We keep waiting for the bus driver shortage to end, but it doesn't. For years now, schools have been struggling to find enough school bus drivers to keep all their routes running, and still the problem persists. According to recent studies, 24% of districts describe their shortage to be "severe" or "desperate," and another 38% report "moderate" staffing problems. Only around 10% claim to have no driver staffing issues at all.

In short, districts will have to continue to hustle if they're going to find new drivers, and keep trying new tactics. Here are some more things to try!

What Happens When School Bus Drivers Are Sick?

From the perspective of a district transportation manager, the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak came at one of the worst possible times. No time is good for an epidemic, but with schools already hurting from the shortage of school bus drivers, even minor disruptions to the workforce can cause major problems.  

So what can a school do to reduce the chances of illness? Or, if their school bus drivers do get sick, what alternatives could they set up? There are not many easy answers here, but districts still need to look into what they can do.

 

 

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