by Dr. Richard Canfield, Superintendent
The Sandwich Public Schools and First Student, the district’s transportation vendor, will be conducting a trial run of the 20 buses that will be used for home-to-school transportation this school year. The date for the trial runs is Thursday, August 13. While the company has always had their drivers test their run, in advance of publishing routes, what is different this year is the agreement to do the test runs all on the same day as if it were a school day.
The decision was negotiated with full cooperation from the First Student management. The agreement recognizes the complexity of transporting students from all corners of Sandwich to each school. The district and First Student have involved Sandwich emergency service personnel through the Joint Safety Committee to look at various aspects of the transportation plan.
It will be important for the community to know that on August 13, buses will be making stops and opening bus doors even though students will not be at the bus stops. The bus company using GPS software tracks the routes and the route is flagged each time the door is opened. This process helps them confirm the timing for the route so they can make adjustments prior to finalizing and publishing the routes. Driver feedback will also help with finalizing the routes prior to publication.
This information about the August 13 date will also be posted on the Sandwich Police Department’s Facebook page.
The 3-tiered system will begin with buses starting pickups at approximately 6:55AM. Buses will arrive at Sandwich High School and The STEM Academy academy campus between 7:10 and 7:25 am for a 7:30 academic start time. Eighteen buses will be used on the first tier.
Buses will then leave to start the Oak Ridge routes and will arrive at Oak Ridge between 7:55 and 8:10 for an 8:15 academic start time. Twenty buses will be used for the Oak Ridge routes.
The buses will then begin their Forestdale routes arriving at Forestdale between 8:40 and 8:55 for a 9:00 academic start time. Twenty buses will be used for the Forestdale routes.
Also on the trial date, the administration will travel to each location with members of the Safety Committee, and First Student management to look at the plan for staging buses at each school for the afternoon pickup. Again, the plan will focus on safety and efficiency for on time performance.
The Sandwich Public Schools, and First Student extend their appreciation to all drivers and commuters for any inconvenience experienced on the morning of August 13, and want to do our best to notify drivers in advance about the reason the buses to be stopping when no children are at the scheduled stops.
The district will be communicating more information about the routes and expectations for buses and parent drivers to operate safely and efficiently at both arrival and dismissal times at each school.