Parents have a new way of signing their children up for bus transportation this year as Elkin City Schools prepares its route schedule leading up to the first day of school.
A Google form has been uploaded in English and Spanish on the school system’s website, web.elkin.k12.nc.us, which can be filled out providing the transportation leaders with information on the student’s bus stop, whether transportation is needed in the morning or afternoon or both, and the child’s grade level.
“We want to revisit our routes and be sure we are being as efficient as possible,” said Lisa Pendry, transportation director for ECS and assistant principal at Elkin High School. “With this being a new procedure, the 30- to 40-percent response we’ve gotten is good.”
She said the form will be available online throughout the year in case families move or situations for needing bus transportation change.
As Pendry prepares to make bus routes, she said the school system is in need of substitute bus drivers, and possibly part- and full-time drivers. Anyone interested in obtaining a bus driver’s license can call Pendry at 336-835-3858 to sign up for an upcoming class in September.
Elkin’s yellow buses all spend the summer at the Surry County Schools’ bus garage being serviced, repaired and inspected in preparation for the next school year, Pendry explained, then they are reassigned to the three school systems in the county who share the buses, Elkin, Mount Airy and Surry County.
There are a couple of changes to the numbered buses students will ride for the 2016-17 school year. Two of the system’s older buses are being replaced with newer models, so students who rode bus #132 will now ride bus #4 and students who rode bus #135 will now ride bus #6. Also, students who rode bus #23 in the afternoons will be riding #135 this year.
The school system owns its own activity buses, but they also are serviced and inspected at the county system’s garage.
Safety reminders shared
As the yellow buses hit the roads Aug. 29, the first day of school in Elkin, around 6:20 a.m., Pendry said drivers need to remember to be cautious of children at bus stops and getting on and off the bus.
“Anticipate the bus stopping,” she said. “When you are traveling in the same direction as a bus, you may never pass a stop arm.”
Also, the only time a driver doesn’t stop when the stop arm is out, is if they are meeting a bus on a five-lane highway or a four-lane highway with a median, she said.
When a bus activates its amber, or yellow, lights, it is a sign it is preparing to stop, so drivers should prepare to stop, too, said Pendry. “A violation doesn’t occur until the stop arm is out,” she added.
“Definitely pay attention in school zones. There is a lot of activity in the mornings,” Pendry said. “We had two or three stop-arm violations in front of the school last year.
“Nothing a person is doing is worth injuring a child,” she said.
In addition to drivers, Pendry had tips for students, one of which was to remind students not to approach a bus until it comes to a complete stop.
Also, she reminded students and parents that children should be at their bus stops when the bus is expected to arrive, 10 to 15 minutes early is advisable. “They’re not going to stop if they don’t see the kids.”
The goal is to keep the buses as efficient in their route as possible, Pendry said.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.