Transportation – 2020-21 School Year

The first day of school for the 2020-21 school year for grades K -12 is Tuesday, Sept. 8.

This has been an extraordinary year. The district, and our entire community, is facing unprecedented challenges. However, our goal in transportation remains the same — to transport your child safely to and from school each day. 

Eastern Carver County Schools Transportation must be prepared to transition from one learning model (in-person or hybrid) to another within 24 hours in response to the spread of COVID-19 throughout our community or a sudden spike in cases. To allow for flexibility and to serve students, some school start and end times have been modified for the 2020-21 school year. This allows for enhanced efficiency in loading buses, the addition of more bus stops if social distancing is a concern, and time for additional cleaning of buses.

Whichever learning model your child’s school is in — In-person, Hybrid, or Distance Learning 2.0 — we want parents/guardians to plan now for transportation needs for each of your children. (Note: parents who have opted to enroll their child in the Online Learning Academy’s full-time distance learning model do not need to plan for transportation.)

2020-21 Safety Practices & Protocols -- (click to expand)

Bus Safety Measures

  • Buses will be disinfected after each route with special attention to high-touch area.
  • Buses will receive deep cleaning each evening.
  • Additional ventilation may be provided from partially opening windows and/or roof hatches as conditions permit.
  • Cloth face coverings will be required on bus ride for drivers and students.
  • Parents/guardians are expected to pre-screen students for Covid-19 symptoms before loading bus each day.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available on buses to support healthy hygiene.

Student Capacity on our Buses:

  • Parents must register for transportation services (by August 25). Parents who wish to opt-out of district transportation should do so by August 14.
  • We will use MDE/MDH guidelines to determine the number of students per bus.
  • Social distancing will be encouraged.
  • Students from same household may need to sit together.
  • Students will load the bus using seats in the back first and unload the bus from front to back.
  • Students may be assigned a seat on the bus.


New Protocols & Practices – 2020-21

  • Parents needing alternate addresses for pick up and drop off (shared custody or day care):  Alternate address is limited to one, and must be a consistent weekly schedule.
  • Secondary students must ride assigned bus (i.e., no bus-hopping)
  • No additional riders will be allowed on the bus (i.e., friends, birthday parties, etc.)
  • Route changes are only allowed two times/month (the 15th and the last day of the month). The first route change requests won’t be considered until Sept. 30, allowing busing and the school year to begin.
  • Walk-zones will be strictly enforced to accommodate modified bus capacity per MDH/MDE guidelines.

The Transportation Dept. will create bus routes and schedules for the 2020-21 school year based on your child’s home address, or an alternate address that you provide to us. 

  • Forms are due to Transportation Dept. by August 25 (see forms below)
  • Bus routes are now posted on Campus Portal (9/2/2020). Open Message Center and click on the “Today” tab. (screen shot here). No letters will be sent to student homes.
  • Parents have the choice to opt-out of transportation and choose to transport their own child to and from school each day. If you know today, that you will NOT need busing for your child, log in to Campus Portal Message Center and choose that option by August 14. 

If your Elementary or Middle School student has any schedule other than traveling to and from home and school, (i.e., shared custody or day care) you must complete the Elementary & Middle School Transportation Registration Form. Alternate address is limited to one, and must be a consistent weekly schedule. This form needs to be filled out annually.  (NOTE: You do NOT need to complete this form if your child will be picked up and dropped off at your home address each day.)

For the 2020-21 school year: The district will assume that all students in grades 9-12 will need busing. If you have a High School student in grades 9-12 who has any schedule other than traveling to and from home and school (i.e., shared custody), please complete the High School Transportation Registration Form.

Parents can make route change requests using the Bus Stop Change Request Form.

  • route changes are only allowed two times/month (the 15th and the last day of the month)
  • the first route change requests won’t be considered until Sept. 30, allowing busing and the school year to begin

The School District has established walking distances to schools for each grade level.  No bussing zones have been created for each school using these parameters.  At this time, hazardous road situations are identified in each zone.  The current parameters are:

  • Grades K-5  .5 mile
  • Grades 6-8  1.0 mile
  • Grades 9-12  2.0 mile
  • Effective with the 2018-19 school year, Eastern Carver County Schools determined .25 miles as an appropriate distance for students to walk to a bus stop. This distance extends to .5 mile if a student lives on a cul-de-sac or dead end street.

Important Dates

 

  • Sept. 2:  Final Bus Routes Posted on Campus Portal
  • Tuesday, Sept. 8:  First Day of School – Grades K-12
Frequently Asked Questions

How are the bus routes designed?

Bus routes and stops are designed with consideration of safety, efficiency, least cost and ride times.  Bus routes are designed to travel main roads through neighborhoods and utilize street corners, walk paths and mailbox shelters for pick-up/drop-off points.

Why are bus stops usually established at corners or intersections?

  • Students are generally taught to cross at corners rather than in the middle of a street
  • Traffic controls, such as stoplights or signs are located at corners. This tends to slow down motorists at corners and they tend to be more cautious as they approach intersections.  The motoring public generally expects school buses to stop at corners rather than individual houses.
  • Impatient motorists are less likely to pass buses at corners than along a street.
  • In the winter, salting and sanding is usually done at corners, providing safer stopping for buses and cars.
  • Bus drivers, especially substitutes, can locate corner stops easily, and do not need to search for individual house numbers.
  • Corner stops, or central points, allow for consistency from year to year.

Why won’t the bus come into our cul-de-sac?

  • Efficiency is paramount to our transportation system. Entering each cul-de-sac adds significant time to a route.  Time the driver and students do not have.
  • Minimizing bus stops reduce costs for fuel as well as wear and tear on the buses.
  • Many cul-de-sacs are not designed for large vehicles. A full-sized bus needs at least 115 feet to safely turn and most cul-de-sacs are 90 feet wide.
  • Backing a school bus is a dangerous maneuver and not recommended by the Minnesota State Highway Patrol.
  • Many neighborhoods use the cul-de-sac as an extension of their yards. We do not want the driver to have to navigate parked cars, basketball hoops, boat trailers, and children’s toys.

How long will my student be on the bus?

It depends on the school your student attends.  Most routes average 35 minutes or less.  However, because a large part of our district is still rural, and the schools are not centrally located, some routes do run closer to 60 minutes.

If my student is the first on in the morning, will he/she be the first off in the afternoon?

Not necessarily.  Routes are designed both in a “circular” style (same route in the morning and afternoon) or “straight line” style (farthest point to closest point, reverse in the afternoon.)  While we would like to say the first on in the morning is the first off in the afternoon, we need to design the bus routes to be as efficient as possible.

Why does my student have to walk so far to a bus stop?

Effective with the 2018-19 school year, Eastern Carver County Schools determined .25 miles as an appropriate distance for students to walk to a bus stop. This distance extends to .5 mile if a student lives on a cul-de-sac or dead end street (see above.) As the district grows in population, the number of bus routes and the distance buses travel have increased. Having parameters for bus stops allows buses to make fewer stops and reduces the overall length of school bus trips. It is important for our all bus routes to run efficiently in a short period of time. This allows the bus to be on time for its next assignment.

What if I would like my student’s bus stop changed?

Route changes are only allowed two times/month (the 15th and the last day of the month). The first route change requests won’t be considered until Sept. 30, allowing busing and the school year to begin.

Why can’t the bus stop at my house?  It drives right by us?

Each time a bus enters a neighborhood, it is likely to pass by one or more student residences as it approaches a bus stop.  Stopping at individual houses would be inefficient, extend travel time, and increase the possibility that drivers miss stops/students (especially when there is a substitute driver).  Bus stops are established to service as many students as possible, and to be consistent from year to year.

Why does my child have to walk to school?

The School District has established walking distances to schools for each grade level.  No bussing zones have been created for each school using these parameters.  At this time, hazardous road situations are identified in each zone.  The current parameters are:

  • Grades K-5  .5 mile
  • Grades 6-8  1.0 mile
  • Grades 9-12  2.0 mile
  • Effective with the 2018-19 school year, Eastern Carver County Schools determined .25 miles as an appropriate distance for students to walk to a bus stop. This distance extends to .5 mile if a student lives on a cul-de-sac or dead end street.

How is the distance to school determined?

The Transportation Department has a computerized mapping system that determines the distance to school for each student.  If there is a question, a Transportation Staff member will walk the distance with a measuring device to verify the measurement.  The distance is calculated from the center of the street in front of the residence driveway to safest, most direct point that the student will enter the school’s campus.  The measurement does not include the resident’s personal property, nor the schools property.

My student needs to be picked up or dropped off at a daycare.  What do I do?

You will need to fill out an Elementary and Middle School Registration Form and submit it to the Transportation Office. This is also the form that should be used for shared custody circumstances, and should be filled out by both parents. There is only one alternate address allowed, and the schedule for the student to be transported to that address must be consistent from week to week.  Changes for pick up or drop offs are only allowed two times/month (the 15th and the last day of the month). The first route change requests won’t be considered until Sept. 30, allowing busing and the school year to begin.

Why does my High School Student have to register for bussing?

To be as efficient as possible, we require the students attending Chaska, Chanhassen, and Holy Family High Schools and Integrated Arts Academy to register for bussing.  This allows us to create routes that truly serve the students who need bussing.  Many high school students do not ride the bus due to their own personal schedules or preferences.  A student may register for bussing at any time, and we will start service as soon as possible, normally within 2 days or receiving the registration form.

Transportation Forms Quick Links

If your Elementary or Middle School student has any schedule other than traveling to and from home and school, (i.e., shared custody or day care) you must complete the Elementary & Middle School Transportation Registration Form. This form needs to be filled out annually.  (You do NOT need to complete this form if your child will be picked up and dropped off at your home address each day.)

For the 2020-21 school year: The district will assume that all students in grades 9-12 will need busing. If you have a High School student in grades 9-12 who has any schedule other than traveling to and from home and school (i.e., shared custody), please complete this form:

Miscellaneous Transportation Forms 

 

Deliver forms to your child’s school, to the Welcome Center, or send it to the Transportation Department – Transportation@district112.org or fax: 952-556-6169. Contact the Transportation Dept. at 952-556-6160 with questions.

John Thomas
Transportation Manager
ThomasJohn@district112.org

Rob Hagerstrom
Transportation Specialist
HagerstromR@district112.org

Corrie Schnur
Transportation Specialist
SchnurC@district112.org