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School Bus Contractors: CERTS Coronavirus Relief Grants Detailed

Near the end of 2020, Congress and President Trump passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which contained provisions for $2 billion in economic relief for transportation companies negatively impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.  These provisions are known as the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) grants. This was excellent news for school bus contractors, who have been suffering under the ongoing restrictions and lockdowns, along with schools being slow to reopen.

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?

School Bus Transportation in 2021

These are chaotic times for school districts and school bus transportation managers. Between the ongoing driver shortage and all the disruption caused by COVID-19, it's easy to feel like things are getting a bit out of control.

Well, take heart, because you're not alone. Recently, HopSkipDrive conducted an extensive survey (PDF) of school districts across the country. The questions were centered on the problems they're facing, and what they consider to be the most pressing issues at the moment.

Operational Optimization: Planning Ahead

When school districts want to - or need to - reduce the costs of their transportation system, one of the best options is to optimize their bus routes. It's rare for a district to have perfect route optimization, and just about any updates they can make will result in cost savings down the road. In best cases, they may even be able to entirely eliminate one or more routes, drastically reducing costs as well as reducing the harm done by the ongoing school bus driver shortage.

Indiana Works to Improve School Bus Stop Safety

We recently came across a short article from School Transportation News discussing Indiana's plans to expand usage, penalties, and enforcement of stop-arm cameras on their school buses.

There's no doubt that illegal passing is one of the biggest threats to school bus safety, as well as the safety of its passengers. Children are most at risk when entering or leaving the bus, so it makes sense that this would be a focus. But are stop-arm cameras the best solution

Maryland Bill Considers School Bus Capacity

One major school bus safety issue that perhaps doesn't receive enough attention is the problem of overcrowding. When districts are low on buses or drivers, they may end up running their buses with more students onboard than is safe for the vehicle. This is definitely a problem, but it's a problem with complicated causes.

In response, the Maryland House of Reps recently passed a bill explicitly making it illegal to run overcrowded buses. While its creator touts the bill as "common sense," it doesn't seem to actually do much to combat the core problem.

K-12 Relief Funds: School Bus Ventilation Systems

Shortly before leaving office, President Donald Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 into law. Part of this law includes over $54 billion in funding grants to help both public and charter schools respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Leveraging School Bus Technologies To Support Parents During The Coronavirus Outbreak

It's hard to even list all the ways that the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak is affecting communities across America. Many of these problems center on schools and school districts. On one hand, the rational response to a disease outbreak is to limit in-person school sessions, reducing disease exposure. On the other hand, many parents rely on schooling for the services it provides, including reduced-price lunches, and providing care for students while the parents are at work.

School Districts Try out Lighted Signs on School Buses

School bus safety is one of the foremost concerns for any school transportation program - and there is no shortage of companies trying to sell you upgrades in the name of safety. Sorting through them in terms of cost vs benefit can be difficult, particularly with so many high-tech solutions entering the market.

But, what if one of the best school bus safety measures is also among the cheapest and easiest to implement? Many districts are coming to believe that simply adding more lights to their buses can keep students safe - and there's plenty of reason to believe that's the case.

Student Transporters Discuss Meeting Challenges

Contrary to the hopes of many, there's no sign that the COVID-19 coronavirus is going away any time soon. In fact, new infections across America are at an all-time high. This means that it's vital for school districts and student transportation directors to do everything they can to protect students and staff from infection while riding on school buses.

Fortunately, with some districts now having been back in operation for two months or more, we're seeing some common strategies involved. Based on a recent series of STN interviews, we've noticed some responses and suggestions that appear repeatedly. These are some of the most common and apparently effective steps that any district could take.

 

 

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