New transportation safety measures

With safety as a goal, DCS is making a number of transportation-related changes this fall in school bus routes and student drop-off and pick-up procedures at the elementary school and jr./sr. high school.

Age-appropriate bus runs
To better ensure the safety and well-being of all students, DCS is changing how they will be bused to and from school. Rather than having a mix of students from kindergarten through 12th grade ride together on the same bus, the district will now transport students in buses carrying those in grades K-6 and in buses carrying those in grades 7-12.

DCS will send parents/guardians a postcard during the last week of August providing route information and estimated drop-off and pick-up times. Compared to previous years, some drop-off and pick-up times may be anywhere from one to 20 minutes later or earlier, while other times may not change at all.  Parents/guardians will be kept informed as the new system is fine-tuned, and DCS appreciates everyone’s patience as the routes become finalized.

“We are creating age-appropriate bus runs to provide a better environment for our students,” Superintendent Frank Macri said. “Learning and social-emotional growth happen beyond the walls of the classroom and school building – students learn and grow on the bus, too, from their peers and fellow students.

“Providing age-appropriate bus runs aligns with our ongoing efforts to teach and support positive behavior and prevent bullying, including our K-12 Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program and our elementary school BRAVES program. At the elementary level, we will also incorporate principles of the Peaceful School Bus program, which promotes cooperation and respect in all environments.”

The district was able to reconfigure its existing system of buses, drivers and routes, adding just one bus run and driver to accommodate the change in transportation. There will be seven bus runs to and from the elementary school for K-6th grade students, and five bus runs to and from the high school for 7th-12th grade students. In most cases, K-6 students will be picked up first and high school students second, and at the end of the day, high school students would be dropped off first and elementary second. This could change, however, if needed to ensure safety.

“We are pleased to be able to use our available resources to adjust how we transport students, creating a positive culture and a better experience for them on the bus and beyond,” Macri said.
Please note that having two runs, however, does not mean that a student who misses their bus can take the other bus. Only in emergency situations, such as mechanical or weather-related issues, will nearby buses be used as back-up transportation.

New stoplight at DES
A new, solar-powered red light has been installed at the elementary school entrance off Chadwick Road. When the red light is lit, from approximately 7:30 to 7:50 a.m. in the morning and from about 2:35 to 3 p.m. in the afternoon, parents/guardians may not enter the parking lot.

After drop-off by buses at 7:50 a.m. in the morning, and after pick-up ending around 3 p.m. in the afternoon, the red light will turn off and parents/guardians will be allowed to enter the parking area at around 7:53 a.m. and 3:03 p.m. Please note that school staff may enter when the red light is lit to fulfill their professional obligations.

New traffic pattern at the HS
With construction completed and after a year’s experience with transportation loops at the renovated high school, DCS will be returning to having buses drop off and pick up students using the traffic loop located in front of the jr./sr. high school building. Parents/guardians who are dropping off or picking up their high school students will do so at the Alexander Road/rear traffic loop. This change should improve both safety and efficiency.
Questions about the transportation changes may be directed to Superintendent Macri.