Who determines the walking distance from home to school for students?
The policy set by the SCDSB and the SMCDSB identifies walking distance for students. The maximum walking distances are:
• Grades JK - 8 1.6 km
• Grades 9 - 12 3.2 km
Parents of a child within the designated walking requirements have the primary duty of care to ensure the safe arrival of their child to school. All distances mentioned will be the shortest distance by public road or publicly owned and maintained access route between home and school and are measured from corner of property to corner of property.
What is the walk to stop distances for students?
Where possible, we plan central stops which are maximum walking distance of 0.8 km
If I am expected to walk to school and there is a bus in my area with empty seats, can I ride the vehicle?
No, non-eligible riders are not permitted to ride any vehicle having empty seats as there is no way to respond to those requests equitably across the region.
For example, in high density areas, a vehicle having 5 empty seats could have 30 non-eligible students requesting those 5 seats. In addition, the issue of consistency in the application of the policy is essential.
Are kindergarten students supposed to be picked up at their houses?
No, kindergarten students will be required to walk to/from regular school bus stops for the morning pick-up and afternoon drop-off.
Can I be transported to an alternate address?
Students can be transported to an alternate address. Example: sitter, day care, dual custody.
Provided: • the locations are within the school boundaries; and
• the request is made by the parent/guardian to their school, and
• the request is served by an existing bus route on which there is available space, and
• the approved pick up or drop off locations are consistent every week.
How do I request changes in service or get a new stop?
Any request for a change to a stop location or for the addition of a bus stop must be submitted to the Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium through your school. After reviewing the request, the Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium will decide, according to policy, whether the request will be approved or denied. Notification will then be given to the school making the request. All stops must be authorized by the Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium so that we can maintain accurate bus route information.
Drivers are employees of the transportation company and are not authorized to make any changes or accommodate requests. Transportation companies are under contract with the Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium and therefore both the carrier and the driver must comply with the Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium policy and terms of the contract. A driver cannot and will not authorize requests. It would be inappropriate to place the driver in jeopardy through demands contrary to policy or to their condition's of employment.
If student behaviour on vehicles is less than ideal and this is not a good influence for my child, what do I do?
Students are held accountable to the school principal for their actions while on a vehicle. All applicable school policies and procedures are to be adhered to, and situations of misbehaviour or misconduct are to be remedied by the principal.
I live on a dead end street. Why won't the school bus come down my street?
Many dead end streets cannot accommodate safe turn around points for buses.
I am going on vacation and I want my children dropped off at a different location.
Temporary changes cannot be accommodated.
My son plays hockey after school and has been told that he can't bring his hockey equipment on the bus. Why is this a problem?
Aisles must be kept clear of obstacles at all times. Skis, ski poles, snowshoes, sleighs, hockey bags, or skateboards are strictly prohibited at all times. Only small items that can be easily placed on a students lap will be permitted. Similarly, musical instruments in cases are acceptable provided that they can fit on the student's lap or between their legs on the floor.
Why can't students eat on the bus?
Eating and drinking are not allowed on the bus for safety reasons. A child could choke on a piece of food and with the high seat backs and noise on the bus, the driver may not be aware of the situation until it is too late. Left over food and drink not only causes a mess, but can attract bees and wasps. Some students have a very severe reaction to bee stings and to some foods such as peanut butter. It is safer for everyone when the no eating and drinking rule is adhered to.
The bus stops at my neighbour's house, why can't it stop at my house too?
Stops are created centrally to accommodate a multiple number of students. It is recommended that bus stops be a minimum of 300 metres (1,000 feet) apart and shall allow a minimum of 150 metres (500 feet) of clear vision in both directions. Bus stops should not be located on a steep grade, brow of a hill or on a blind curve.
Who is responsible for my child/children to and from their bus stop?
The parent/guardian is responsible for the safety and conduct of the child/children on the way to and from the bus stop and while they are waiting at the bus stop. All students enrolled in kindergarten must be accompanied to the bus stop and met at the bus stop for morning and afternoon by a parent or designated caregiver.
In the event of inclement weather, should I send my child to school?
If buses are cancelled and schools are open for student learning, parents may transport their children to school, with the understanding that they must also pick their children up at the end of the school day.
If buses are not cancelled, parents have the right to make the final decision in sending children to school during inclement weather.
When will the Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium decide to cancel school bus transportation in bad weather?
The Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium in conjunction with the bus operators will make the decision to cancel school buses before the start of the school day before 6:00 am and as such, will make every effort to post announcements between 6:00 am and 6:30 am with the local radio stations and on the Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium website.
Parents should also note that inclement weather cancellations are effective for the whole day and buses cancelled in the morning will not run at the end of the day.
In the case of bus cancellations for inclement weather, schools will be open for student learning unless specifically closed by the respective boards.
What makes school vehicles safe?
All buses built since 1980 meet safety standards developed by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA D-250) and set by Transport Canada.
The size and bright yellow colour make school buses very visible.
The school bus is designed to protect passengers from impact. The floor is raised, the window glass is shatter-proof, and there are strengthened reinforcements along the sides of the bus.
The flashing lights and stop arm warn motorists that they must stop for a stopped school bus.
The high penalty (six demerit points and a substantial fine) acts as an effective deterrent to motorists who might fail to stop for a school bus.
School bus drivers receive special training and licencing, rigorous examinations and must maintain a good driving record.
What is the Ontario Law governing when to stop for a school bus?
Motorists in both directions meeting a stopped school bus with its overhead red signal lights flashing and stop arm extended must stop. The law applies everywhere, regardless of the posted speed limit - on highways, country roads, city, town or village streets. Only on highways separated by a median strip is oncoming traffic not required to stop.
Why aren't seat belts required on school vehicles?
Some parents are surprised to find that while seat belt use is mandatory in passenger vehicles, their children travel unrestrained on a school bus. School buses are designed to protect passengers through "compartmentalization". This means that school buses have:
• seats with high backs;
• seats positioned close together to form compartments;
• seats filled with energy-absorbing material;
• strong seat anchorages.
Parents also need to be aware of additional information about seat belts:
• To be effective, seat belts must be worn correctly (snug and low on the hips for full protection. Seat belts which are not correctly worn may cause injuries.)
• Because school vehicles carry passengers from the very young to high school students, seat belt fit must be readjusted and use monitored to ensure safety.
• Because of increased use, seat belts on school buses are subject to more wear and tear, and their condition must be monitored.
• Studies using crash test dummies have shown that adding seat belts to the current school bus seating arrangement can actually increase the chance of head and neck injuries in restrained passengers.
How can school vehicle safety be improved?
Most injuries to school vehicle passengers occur outside the school bus, as students are entering or leaving the bus, or crossing the street. Many of these mishaps can be prevented through education.
School vehicle safety can be improved by teaching children the correct procedures and proper behavior around school buses. Children should learn:
• to be at the school bus stop on time (5-10 mins. prior to scheduled pick up time);
• to wait in a safe place well back from the side of the road;
• to know the danger zones around the bus where the driver cannot see them;
• to enter the bus in single file, holding onto the handrail;
• to find a seat right away, and stay seated, facing forward at all times;
• to make sure that there is nothing in the aisle;
• to do what the bus driver says;
• that it is unsafe to distract the driver;
• that throwing things, misbehaviour and eating, drinking or smoking are not allowed;
• to keep heads and arms inside the bus.
Children leaving the bus must be careful:
• If they can touch the bus, they are too close.
• They should stay away from the side of the road, not play on snow banks.
• If children drop something near the bus, they must learn to leave it and inform an adult; they should never pick it up because they may be out of the driver's sight.
If children must cross the street:
• Children must walk at least ten feet in front of the bus along the side of the crossing arm and look at the driver before crossing.
• Children should look for a signal from the driver before walking across the street.
• Children should look all ways before crossing the roadway.
• Parents should meet children on the side of the street where the bus stops.
Will my bus stop change every year?
Efforts are made to keep stops consistent from year to year, however, there may be changes in bus stops due to the changing student population.
How will I be informed of possible changes to my child's route throughout the year?
Your child's route may have to be modified due to new students, or as a result of operation issues throughout the year. Parents will receive information concerning any changes that occur from your school.
What can parents do to prepare children to ride the bus?
As a parent you should remind your children to be extra careful when getting on and off the school bus. Always have them take a second look for traffic before crossing the road.
Also, remind your children to follow the school bus safety rules learned at school. Encourage them to help the driver keep his/her attention on the driving task. The children can do this by; behaving, being as quiet as possible, remaining seated, facing the front, until it is time to leave the bus.