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The BEST Way To Keep Parents Informed of a School Emergency

While it would certainly be nice if we could run our school districts without the need to quickly contact parents, it's just not going to happen. Emergencies and unexpected events are impossible to avoid entirely, and sometimes, you simply need to get in touch with a parent ASAP.

When Does Ensuring Child Stability Require Bus Routing?

We are currently living in the era of speed and mobility. While this can have numerous economical advantages, things are not always positive when it comes to children’s education. For the little ones, stability is very important and the lack of it can seriously impact their psychological and intellectual development. This is why, when the shift in your family’s residence allows it, parents should do their best to let kids attend the same school, even if it requires the use of public or private transportation. However, the choice of the preferred means of transport is not so easy. Here are some aspects to consider:

Safer Bus Routes: Avoiding “Danger Zones” Takes A Two-Pronged Approach

Scheduling safe school bus routes is a serious initiative for every school district. As a school administrator, transportation manager, or transportation contractor, your main goal is to get students to and from school safely, every day. 

3 Ways That Technology Has Changed the Student Transportation Game

There is no denying that technology advances are affecting the way we work and live our lives. This is especially true when it comes to student transportation.

Student ID Badges Make It Easier To Keep Track Of Your Precious Cargo

Keeping track of students is a priority that is increasing in importance in school districts across North America and around the world. One of the easiest and most cost-efficient ways to track students is by utilizing an ID system. Student ID badge usage is an efficient and cost-effective way to track students. Learn more about utilizing RFID systems  to keep students safe and save districts money.

Does Student Tracking Ensure Safer Bus Rides?

Despite some initial controversy, RFID-based student tracking systems are beginning to be utilized around the country to make student bussing safer and more effective.

In just the last couple years, programs have been implemented in cities across America. Consistently, the reports have been positive: student tracking truly does help keep students safe, as well as giving districts numerous new ways to optimize their busing.

In the meantime, the fears that this would somehow turn into a "Big Brother" scenario are being shown as unfounded. The potential for gain is great, with very little actual potential for abuse.

While the initial system installation can require a substantial up-front outlay, this investment is quickly rewarded.

Five Ways RFID Student Tracking Creates Better Bus Rides

1) No-Question Bus Ridership Tracking

With RFID scanners on your buses, there's rarely any question as to whether a student rode a bus. After all, they're being recorded every time they get on or off. This, in turn, is transmitted instantly to your servers in the office.

Besides the obvious benefits to your state reporting, this greatly reduces the chances of miscommunication between parents, students, and drivers. If a parent discovers they're unsure whether their child got on the bus, all it takes is a couple mouse-clicks to discover the truth.

2) Improper Departure Alerts

Another benefit to this tracking system is that, when it's tied to a GPS system, the computers will instantly know which students are supposed to get off at which stops. If a student tries to leave the bus at the wrong stop, the driver is immediately alerted so they can assess the situation.

Generally, bus drivers are given some discretion when one child is getting off with a known friend. On the other hand, if a student is simply confused, a potentially dangerous mishap is avoided entirely.

3) Medical Alerts

When a student's records are tied to their bus routing, it means drivers can always be alerted if a student with special medical needs is riding. Students with respiratory or cardiac conditions can be placed where the driver can keep an eye on them.

By the same token, should a legitimate medical emergency occur, the integrated tracking system will speed dispatch response. You'll know within a couple feet where the bus is from the moment it comes to a stop. So, you can already be getting ready to send out assistance.

In situations where minutes can make the difference between life and death, onboard bus tracking systems greatly improve the odds.

4) Truant Student Detection

It happens: A student arrives on the bus in the morning, but then "somehow" ends up behind the gymnasium rather than appearing in class. Or they may simply walk right back off campus before anyone sees them.

Student tracking makes these sorts of games far less likely to work. If you have scanners on your school doors, for example, the system will expect to see the student pass through within a few minutes of delivery. If it doesn't happen, you can be alerted.

Similarly, a few RFID scanners around your perimeter mean you'll know quickly if a student is trying to ditch.

5) More Power to Your Drivers

While it's been a running theme, it's worth explicitly mentioning the improvements to your drivers' experience. Onboard bus tracking systems can take a lot of burdens off their back, leading to better morale and more effective driving:

  • No more annoying hand-written checklists or sign-in sheets.

  • Complete performance tracking reduces their need to manually record bus usage data.

  • Clear and unambiguous onboard maps point them to every logged student's stop.

  • Faster calls for support when help is needed.

  • No chance of getting lost with GPS systems.

In short, these tracking systems help keep your drivers "in the loop," empowering them to make decisions more easily while reducing bureaucratic burdens.

 

Are There Downsides To Student Tracking?

There are remarkably few arguments against RFID tracking, besides the initial installation costs. Otherwise, the most common reported problems are:

  1. Parents misunderstanding the system, and overestimating its effects on privacy. This can be addressed with better communications.

  2. Students wrapping their ID badges in tinfoil to defeat the RFID tracker. However, this is easily countered with a visual check.

  3. Lost cards, which will be an unavoidable ongoing cost.

That said, the overall safety and reporting improvements should vastly outweigh the expenditures associated with replacing lost cards.

Is It Time For Bus Tracking?

On-bus student tracking systems can quickly make your bus routes safer, your drivers happier, and your state reporting easier. The combined cost savings virtually always outweigh the investment, not to mention the ease of mind they bring to both parents and administrators.

To learn more about the power of RFID student tracking, simply contact us to receive a free consultation!

Orbit Software 10 Questions To Ask When Considering A School Bus Tracking System To Minimize Parent Complaints

What do you think? Are there other aspects of student tracking that can help ensure safer bus rides? Let us know in the comments below!

 

12 Warning Signs That Your Bus Capacity Is Unsafe

Out of all the jobs a school does, there's probably none that's more central or vital than protecting the students in its care. Unfortunately, it seems like there's been a rash of incidents lately with schools running buses that are dangerously overcrowded.

How School Management Systems Operate

The ways to harness technology to make your school run more smoothly and more safely are expanding quickly.  Just a couple decades ago, it was still standard to see school districts doing most of their record-keeping by hand:  drawing bus routes with lines on a map, doing attendance on paper, and still keeping class scores in physical grade books.

Helping Special Needs Students Adapt to COVID-19 Safety Requirements

Transporting special needs students always has some additional challenges, and that's especially true during the coronavirus pandemic. School bus drivers and transportation directors need to be making concerted efforts to help special needs children maintain safety protocols.

Every student's situation will be a little different, but we have some suggestions that may help in ensuring that proper safety procedures are followed by all students.

School Bus Safety: Safeguarding Students That Use Wheelchairs

Ensuring the safety of students that use wheelchairs can be a challenge. School bus safety has come a long way in the last several years. Specific regulations now include safety provisions for all students, regardless of their ability.

 

 

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