Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark Bedell has announced a new notification system through which families of students and members of the general community can be made aware of bus delays and route cancellations during the upcoming school year.
The system, which launched on Friday, provides email and text message notifications in either English or Spanish to those who sign up through a link located here. Users are asked to provide the bus number and school for which they wish to receive the notification.
Users can sign up to receive multiple notifications and will be asked to confirm registrations through the email address or phone number they utilize. One registration will need to be done for each bus/school combination.
“This new system is a win not just for our families, but for our larger community,” Dr. Bedell said. “Last year, notifications were sent only to families of students in our schools but this platform allows people such as day-care providers to be apprised of interruptions to bus schedules that will impact their lives as well. I am proud of the work our team has done to continue to enhance the ways in which we communicate.”
Messages will be sent at 7:30 p.m. the night before a school day to alert users of delays and cancellations for the following school day. Messages will also be sent beginning at 6 a.m. on each school day and periodically through 8:45 a.m. as updates are entered from bus contractors. Users will receive one message per delay or cancellation and will receive an additional message if there is a change in that bus’ status. At 12:30 p.m. on each school day, messages will be sent to users to remind them of afternoon-only impacts to bus routes.
Impacts to routes will continue to be listed online here and will be updated as contractors report them. Except in extreme circumstances, no other messaging is planned.
As of today, AACPS has zero bus driver vacancies on the 645 routes covered by its contractor and employee fleet. However, the work of building a bench of substitute drivers in the face of an ongoing driver shortage continues, and in some cases illness or other driver absences will result in bus routes not running on a given day.
“We are in a far better position at the start of this school year than we were a year ago but there are, unfortunately, still going to be interruptions,” Dr. Bedell said. “We will do everything we can to minimize those and to inform families and the community when they occur, but we will all need to exercise patience throughout the year.”
Bus route delays and cancellations will continue to be posted on AACPS’ website here as they are reported by contractors.