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Transportation Information and Forms

Fall 2018-19 Transportation Night

IMPORTANT Information for Parents

January 8, 2018

To all students, staff, parents and other interested parties:

In light of the recent tragedy experienced by Riverside Schools in Western Iowa, I thought it might be of interest to provide you with some information so that you may more fully understand the policies and processes your bus driver and/or your students are trained in.

THE BUS DRIVER:

Every school bus driver is required by law to obtain a commercial driver’s license, ranging from a chauffer’s license to a Class B CDL. Following that, they are required to obtain an Iowa School Bus Driver’s Authorization. This involves taking a 17 hour combination on-line/classroom instruction and a three hour annual in-service thereafter. Besides their training, they must hold a current D.O.T. physical, which must be renewed every 2 years or less. They are also required by the Federal D.O.T. to have their background checked every time their license is renewed.

As far as driving their bus, the law requires that drivers do a pre-trip inspection, followed by a post-trip inspection for each and every trip. On a normal school day, this would involve 4 inspections per day. While driving their bus, the most important aspect of their position is to get the students safely to and from school each day. While they should have their attention fixed on the road, they must also pay attention to student behavior, vehicle performance and multiple exterior influences, ranging from wildlife on the road to passing motorists, especially while stopping to load or unload students. Bus drivers are discouraged from using reverse on their buses, unless absolutely necessary. Routes are designed to be as efficient as possible, with as few turn arounds as possible, thereby eliminating the need for backing out of a driveway.

STUDENTS:

Students also play a vital role in safely riding a bus to school every day. First and foremost, they should be on time, so the bus can stay on schedule and also not have to wait on the roadway, tying up traffic. Before crossing the road, either getting on the bus or getting off, always wait for the bus driver’s signal to cross the road and also stop and check the road yourself. While riding the bus, there is a list of bus rules that students should follow, to insure that the driver can do his/her job properly and contribute to a safer ride.

Students are also instructed two times each year in the proper and most efficient ways to evacuate a school bus. The new model buses have at least 8 emergency exits available to get out as quickly as possible. These would include the front and rear doors, 4 emergency side windows and two roof hatches. The students are instructed as how to operate these exits and procedures to follow to help keep them safe.

SCHOOL BUSES:

All school buses in the state of Iowa are inspected 2 times per year by state certified inspectors. Most buses have in excess of 150 inspection points, including tires, brakes, lights, seats and fans. Infractions can usually result in 3 different outcomes. A “note”, indicating that some item is technically acceptable, but will need some attention soon. A “30 day repair” indicates that an item is not acceptable, however it is not an immediate safety issue, giving the driver use of the bus for up to 30 days, until the item gets repaired. An “OOS”, means that a bus is out of service immediately. Any bus will be removed from service for anything as minor as a light bulb to something obviously dangerous as a bad tire or brakes. Besides mechanical issues, buses are also inspected for cleanliness and general deterioration.

If at any time, there is any question as to the operation of a school bus, the superintendent , Mark Schneider, or transportation director , Teresa Hartley, should be notified ASAP. The goal of school bus drivers is to provide the safest means of transportation to school and home for all students.

Please feel free to contact me at any time.

Teresa Hartley, Mid-Prairie Transportation Director

Dear Parent/Guardian:

We are pleased to be transporting your child to and from school this year.

We are very proud of the safety record of our school buses and the professionalism of our transportation team.

Please help us ensure your child’s safety by following these simple but important procedures:

  • Provide your child with a backpack or bookbag. Loose papers or other items are dangerous as children get off the bus.
  • Check your child’s clothing for the presence of long drawstrings or other dangling items. Long drawstrings or other dangling items could get snagged in the bus door as the child gets off the bus, and should be removed from clothing.
  • Make sure your child arrives at the designated bus stop five minutes early each day. The bus will wait for a few seconds if they don’t see anyone coming/waiting. Children who are late for the bus may panic and chase it, or run into the road.
  • Insist that your child wait for the bus safely in an orderly fashion, back from the roadway. Behavior problems at the bus stop can create hazardous conditions for children.
  • When the bus arrives, your child should wait for the bus driver’s signal before boarding. Children should board in single file.
  • Teach your child to sit quietly on the ride to and from school. Behavior problems could distract the bus driver and result in an accident.
  • IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CALL THE TRANSPORTATION OFFICE IF YOUR CHILD IS NOT RIDING, OR HAS CHANGE OF PLANS.

It is important that our drivers are able to concentrate on driving the route safely. If anything makes your child feel unsafe at the bus stop or on the bus ride, please contact us at the transportation department, rather than trying to discuss it at the bus stop.

We are deeply committed to the safety of your child as well as all our community’s children.

Thank you!

Teresa Hartley-Transportation Director & Transportation Staff

319-646-6881 or thartley@mphawks.org

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