Proper transportation of students is a matter of continuing concern and it is imperative that all staff members associated with student transportation adhere to the following guidelines which have been designed to maximize the safety of students.
A. Each bus driver must maintain effective communications with the dispatcher at all times and particularly when s/he encounters any situation that is out of the ordinary. To that end, each bus shall be equipped with appropriate communications equipment which is to be kept in operating condition at all times.
B. Each bus driver will be provided a manual containing all information relating to transportation procedures and to the safety and welfare of student riders. The Director of Facilities and Transportation is to ensure that each driver thoroughly understands the information in the manual as well as how the manual is to be used.
C. At the completion of each bus run, the driver is to do a complete walk-through of the bus to make sure that no student has remained. Failure to complete this walk-through will result in termination.
D. The Director of Facilities and Transportation shall maintain a record as provided from the School Corporation student data base (SASI) of each student rider for ready reference whenever a question arises about a student. Such a record shall include name, address, telephone number, name and location of contact person, the bus driver's name and the number of the bus the student rides, and information regarding physical and/or mental characteristics of the student which would require special attention.
E. The Director of Facilities and Transportation or his/her designee shall coordinate with the School Corporation's bus drivers the selection of at least six (6) students in grades 4 and above on each bus for special training in bus evacuation procedures and in the operation of the bus communications equipment in case the driver becomes incapacitated. Written permission must be received from each student's parents prior to participation in such training.
F. In addition, the Director of Facilities and Transportation or his/her designee shall:
1. conduct routine and periodic surveys of the School Corporation area and routes to determine the safety of current bus routes and bus stops;
2. ensure that each bus driver's records of qualifications and certification are up-to-date and on file in the Transportation Department Office with a physician's certificate that the bus driver has passed required physicals;
3. ensure compliance with all Department of Education safety specifications for school buses as well as statutory requirements for first-aid kits, fire extinguishers, traffic flares, and other safety features;
4. ensure that there is no smoking or drinking of alcoholic beverages on any school bus.
Before crossing a railroad track at grade, the driver shall:
A. stop the vehicle within fifty (50) feet but not less than fifteen (15) feet from the nearest rail;
B. activate hazard warning lights, turn off all interior switches including fans, heaters, and radios;
C. open student door and driver-side window and, while stopped, listen and look in both directions along the track for an approaching train or signals indicating a train approaching;
D. proceed only after ascertaining that no train is approaching and using a gear that does not require changing gears while crossing the tracks;
E. driver side window and student door shall remain open until the bus is completely across all tracks;
F. hazard warning lights shall remain activated until resuming posted speed.
DANGEROUS AND ILLEGAL WEAPONS
The safety of students and staff is of paramount importance, and control of dangerous and/or illegal weapons is a particularly sensitive and critical responsibility. No weapon or other device that poses a danger to anyone in the vehicle shall be permitted and if a staff member discovers such a weapon or device, appropriate action will be taken.
EMERGENCY BUS EVACUATION
Each bus driver of elementary grades students shall conduct, on school property, at least one (1) bus drill per year with each bus load of students. In the event of a real emergency, the following procedures shall be used.
Drills are to be patterned on this procedure:
A. Drills are conducted by the student helpers under guidance from the driver so they are familiar with evacuation procedures.
B. Stop bus, if not already stopped, off the road and out of the mainstream of traffic, if possible.
C. Put on emergency flasher lights and immediately issue orders as to which exits are to be used.
D. Maintain calm and direct students to "walk - not run" and to be careful when disembarking.
E. Radio or send someone for help immediately after making sure that all students are evacuated.
F. Form students into a group at least 100 feet from the bus and as far away from traffic as feasible.
G. Check bus list to ensure all students are accounted for and are in good condition.
H. Report to the Director of Facilities and Transportation that a drill has been conducted.
All members of the transportation staff should be able to use standard precautions relative to handling of and exposure to communicable disease. Such precautions would include but not be limited to:
A. characteristics of common communicable diseases;
B. techniques for managing such common diseases;
C. use of protective equipment and devices and proper procedures for handling bodily fluids (See Administrative Guideline 8453).
CARE, INTERVENTION, AND MANAGEMENT
Medically fragile, technology-dependent, and/or highly-disruptive students require special care and intervention. Staff members need to be able to implement any care plans developed during the IEP process to deal with special health risks.
Whenever the weather forecast indicates inclement weather approaching, the Director of Facilities and Transportation is to determine the condition of the roads. If the forecast relates to the current school day, s/he should notify the Assistant Superintendent of Business Affairs in sufficient time so students can be transported home before road conditions would make such transportation hazardous. If the forecast relates to the next school day, the Director of Facilities and Transportation is to make his/her recommendation to the Assistant Superintendent of Business Affairs prior to 5:30 AM.
If transportation is cancelled, bus drivers will be notified by means of the SchoolMessenger System and parents by means of the TV stations and the SchoolMessenger System.